Monthly Archives: July 2017

Makerspace – ISTE Unplugged Notes


These are my notes from the second session that I attended at Hack Education on the day prior to the official start of  ISTE 2017 The topic for discussion was Maker Spaces.

Teachers shared their thoughts on what a maker space looked like. A maker space is like a Tinkerlab. Makerspace in the library may be tactile. Storage and organization are the key. One teacher talked with students to see what  they wanted to learn and do – maker space grew out of there.

Genius Hour

  • The Passion-Driven Classroom: A Framework for Teaching & Learning by Angela Maiers and Amy Sandoval
  • Amazing things can happen if….
  • What do you want to learn and do

Growth Mindset

China calls STEM the Maker Education Movement. It is public, being promoted in schools in China and supported by the government.

How do I better integrate into the  the idea into curriculum?

  • It takes time, starts small with teachers that are interested, autonomy, PTA helps by giving money
  • Meet with teachers and plan together to support the standards. It is not stand alone, you work together
  • Come organically from teachers
  • How do I get teachers on board?
    • Started as a STEM school
    • Have teachers do hands on learning themselves so they are comfortable with the materials in the space
    • Shark Tank pitch to staff

Another school has developed a Eureka lab – @sfisher_mb

  • Design thinking
  • Clean space VS. dirty space
  • Organization and storage are key

Tech lab was turned into Maker Space. It became Geek Space where all the kids who do not play sport hang out.


After school and before school dropins. Incorporate design thinking into school. Redeveloped computer lab and now use some of the school theatre. There are two spaces:

  • Clean space: scissors glue guns etc
  • Dirty space: more like sawdust, 3D printers, embroidery/sewing machines, vinyl cutter, arts and crafts recyclables, computer driven drill bit – 2D design on computer than cut out on machine.

Libraries have been removed in some states.

One school started with maker spaces with a couple of teachers but has now grown exponentially. Converted computer lab into STEAM teaching space – bought educational toys – speros, ozebots. Got teachers to play with it. PTA gave money for innovation grants – $100 each. Teachers had to buy some things eg makey makey. Meet with teachers look at the standards, create design briefs and add on to what you are doing.

Kids are afraid of failure so won’t have a go.

Fun toys in a Makerspace

  • Robots
  • Ozobots
  • 3D printers
  • Spheros
  • Makey makey
  • Bee- Bots

Low Tech items for the makerspace

  • Recyclables
  • Task cards (pinterest, Teachers Pay Teachers)

3d print a fidget spinner

Tool used for reflective piece:

  • wevideo
  • Flipgrid – used to show their creations and reflections.
  • Google slides- students take pictures and discuss what worked well
  • Regular blog posts

Use Saturdays to allow students and families into schools and makerspaces.  That is HUGE and big buying power.

Slide deck of makerspace projects in the curriculum (from conference presentation last week, with Cranbrook School, in MI)

Mobile makerspace?










Games in Learning – Hack Education ISTE

These are my notes from the first session of Hack Education on the day prior to the official start of  ISTE 2017. Hacked is great, organised by Steve Hargadon and is a firm favourite of mine as people propose topics for discussions, interested people then form groups around a chosen topic and share conversations, experiences, offer suggestions or ask questions at the organic level.  The first session I joined was on the topic of Games in Education, led by Ian Mathews.

Can off the shelf videogames be seen as anything other than distractions to education or can there ever be a contextual use for them? I have my opinions as an Education Researcher, teacher, and tech consultant but I would love to discuss everyone’s experiences, ideas, resources. For further info on me, check twitter @ianrmatt who has started consulting for Nefer Games. Sedis has been launched recently which is promoted as a powerful tool for learning. Feedback to @ryanmakhani

Online games

  • Kahoot: (to create a kahoot, or this link for students to play) – interactive multiple choice; can use with google hangouts or skype to play competitively with classrooms across the globe
  • Quizziz: can assign for homework, ss can play multiple times, make your own memes or let ss make memes
  • Quizlet: vocab review; “Live” version assigns students to a team
  • Mystery Location: Connections around the States or world. See Mystery Skype
  • Quizzes on Playbuz Studentss are a signed to a team – have to talk to each other to see who has right answer
  • Word wall –quiz generator
  • Mission US: For Crown or Colony– Interactive way to learn history


  • Students like to see themselves climb up the leader board.
  • Narratives, objects, behaviours, spaces are all important elements of a good game.
  • Paula Nagle gives students a study guide and makes them put in 4 possible answers – hard to get the three non-answers

BreakoutEDU  (Escape room in a box.) students work through progression of problems to unlock boxes. Basic concept of coding – each problem solved is given a code and allows you into another box via a key. Different puzzles allow participants to get into the box. In teams students can make up their own breakout edu games. What did we try and what did we not try? Don’t use hint cards unless we have used each other as resources. When cannot open a lock, you know you are wrong but your self confidence is not diminished.  Join the fabulous Breakoutedu facebook group for support, ideas/deeper learning.
Physics lesson (shared by Diane Main) where end of year review was series of breakouts

Builds resiliency; a student may get a B on a paper and not care about questions missed, but with a wrong breakout answer students will persevere

The Room” on IOS and android for similar off-the-shelf games

Essential to have conversations afterwards. Conversation Cards (could be used as rewards) available with questions like “what did you learn about yourself/group”, “what would you add to this game”, “who did a good job with __”, “how could I be a better collaborator” Can have “red herring” clues that must be collected even though they don’t necessarily open the box

Video Games

Older teachers feel uncomfortable as they have not grown up with video games.

Alchemy and Little Alchemy game/app–  earth/wind/fire to combine elements to solve probems – what if I do this, or what if I do this? Mess around with it for 20 mins, then do more later. That is what we want them to do with their learning.

“Sit and get mentality” is what traditional schools and some cultures are used to. Mixed cultures – focused on a particular university as that is the best and will provide them with the best employment opportunities.

Steve Isaacs uses good games with free stuff using the platform of STEAM.

Minecraft: Paul Blankenship built “The Nations Project”  for his students- a relief map in Minecraft altitude finder tool and maps; played through that country; dig out oceans and fill with water Small groups, each group assigned a country and builds that country in minecraft eg France, China, had to use altitude finder. Students used same scale so teacher gave them the scale. Had to dig out the oceans.

Class Craft similar to class dojo; Students are in clans – implementation of the tool is important thinking of participatory design – like class dojo but more involved as they have to do missions collaboratively. Works really well as teacher can see what their students are doing, However kids don’t see it that way – don’t see the point and just jump the hoops. Implementation of tool is very important. Get kids to help design the parameters. Not make it a motivator.

PeaceMaker – set the task of making peace in the Middle East game

Third-World Farmerv – free online game; strategies to survive as a third-world farmer; there is a cheat site. Do we want them to beat the game or experience the game. How to develop strategies to avoid the cheaters?

“Rogue-like” is term for games that send you back to beginning- getting little ship from one side of the galaxy to the other. 50 hours of play and if you get one thing wrong, you go right back to beginning

Spelunky – trying to teach resilience.

One Chance – reflect on experiences on gameplay experience where students have 10 days to live

Big G – Small G is the media for the game – big G is the big course around play. Conversations that students have around games. Norwegian teacher teaches ethics by playing this.

Walking Dead. Play as a class on big screen. Then study 4 sets of ethical principles and decide which ethics to follow as to how to play the next level. The discourse that surrounds the play. Peace game – discourse where kids go deeper and deeper in their thoughts. Similar to choose your own adventure.

Choose your adventure – decisions, decisions etc

Twinery  write your own story

Best learning that happens is social as games are being played

Game playing is risk-taking because some people are afraid of what administrators might think US civics related game

Prodigy maths games are free to schools.

Google just released – Be Internet AwesomeInterland is the game part of it.

Bron Stuckey asked why when singing games, puzzle games, kindy games used all the time in classrooms. Why have we stopped when digital games came.

There is a perception that teachers will get into trouble if found to allow students to play games. Therefore pullback on other games – it is a waste of time, testing is priority

Read Greg Toppo who wrote book Game Believes in You – use Warcraft to get kids to develop avatar.

Matt FarberGamify Your Classroom book

Free mobile startup game in development Life is Yellow K-3 addition processes

Goose chase – gamification of learning for the masses – set up things that people have to do whilst at the conference – like a scavenger hunt. Eg 50 points if your whole team jumps in the pool.

Simple quest – uses google forms and tools by Bron Stuckey and Alice Keeler – get gameful to onboard students on to a new topic. Hardest thing is to get students to think playfully the quest for the kids. Eg Who was the 59th president of the USA – make it a playful question.

The Reflection cards – concept of taking a game or activity and kids and administrators see it is fun. Captures entire thing back into pedagogy. Cards on Four Cs – what did you learn out of this activity. What is the question, clue or lock you could use or provide and tie into curriculum. Put cards into boxes rather than candy – have an experience afterwards. As a teacher develop the soft skills.

Lucas Gillispie Nth Carolina: Gamifying teacher professional learning in EPIC Academy




Making IT Happen Award

lucy picture of me

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) endows a number of awards at its annual conference. Many of the awards are given through the various PLN groups but one of the major awards is the Making IT Happen. This year 6 educators were given this award and to my utter surprise I was one of the recipients. Although I am not one to brag, this award is such a prestigious award that I am going to dedicate a post to it and thereby thank my amazing PLN (Professional Learning Network), the students I teach, the school I teach in, Hawkesdale P12 College and the staff I work with as I hope they are all proud to be part of it!

I teach in a small rural school of 220 students from foundation (age 5) through to year 12 (age 18 years old). We do not have mobile phone service either where I work or live, so these two factors make it even more amazing and precious that someone from a relatively remote rural area can receive an award with many of the IT greats. I need to thank my special friend and colleague Julie Lindsay for her role in the granting of this award. Julie has been a wonderful mentor and role model and someone whom I look up to and admire for all she has achieved in flattening classroom walls.

An email invitation came through, just before I left for San Antonio, USA (where #ISTE17 was held) to a luncheon at the Grand Hyatt. I accepted almost immediately as I thought it was a wonderful way to network with others and a privilege to be asked to the ISTE luncheon. However, two hours later, I also received notice that the poster session, I had applied for “The Magic of Mystery Skype” had been changed from early morning to 2 hours over lunchtime. The luncheon would now clash with the last hour of the poster. I told my Australian colleagues that I didn’t think I could go and was there someone else who might like to take up the special opportunity. However, Tina (who I didnt know was my minder) kept encouraging me to come, so I did!

our table at award dinner

What a surprise to hear my name announced as one of the 6 awardees! Plus I had to make speech and now have no idea what I actually said, as impromptu speeches are not my forte.

You can

I would like to thank my  wonderful family, my PLN, the Hawkesdale and district community, Hawkesdale P12 College staff and students, all the many people who have helped me in this journey and Julie Lindsay for nominating me.

carol photo of me cropped


GamesNET 2017

girls best at acmi

Over the last 3 years, our school has been a member of this exciting, cutting edge and innovative project. It is possibly a world first. The project is being sponsored by ACMI – The Australian Centre for the Moving Image and the Victorian Department of Education (DET).

A number of schools across Victoria have been accepted into the program. The students involved come from a mix of city/country and primary/secondary, with a maximum of four students from each school. They are grouped in pairs from their own school but then matched with another pair of students from another school.

making games

At the beginning of the project schools, teachers and parents have to fill in appropriate permission forms. The first formal day involves students and teacher coming to ACMI at Federation Square in Melbourne for a face to face meeting. This allows staff and students to get to know each other face to face, commence work in their small groups and go away feeling confident in the overall requirements of the project. Vincent Trundle, the manager of the project, outlines the tools to be used, the value of learning with games, its impact for the future and covers basic digital citizenship.

screen in zoom.PNG

Unfortunately a number of schools could not be there physically but came in virtually through zoom. Two of the students in my girls’ groups worked in zoom with De De during the small group discussions. One of them competently shared her screen, pulled up her graphics pad and commenced sketching ideas for games sprites. It was though they were in the same room.

zoom online meeting

Students looked at using Scratch for coding the games, whilst teachers formulated the groups of 4 students. Each group has a teacher allocated and a games industry mentor.  One students is a coder, another a leader, another a musical producer and the fourth student is  in charge of the art work.

Initial discussions took place as to the name of the group, the type of game they wanted to create, the characters in the game etc. The tools to be used are:

  1. Google documents for sharing, archiving, collaborating and mapping the learning.
  2. Slack for communicating, connecting and collaborating. There is a chat area for each team and an overall chat for the whole community
  3. Zoom is used for videoconferencing
  4. Email is used only where necessary.

Once back at school, students are expected to use slack to communicate regularly, stating what they have been up to, share questions and general conversations etc. They are asked to meet with their groups, using zoom, at least once a week at a mutually agreeable time (during school or after school). Art work, music and other files are shared on the google documents.

This is an exciting project that embraces so many of the 21st century workforce skills both the present and the future. Effective collaboration is a skill to be taught and this makes a great platform to learn how.

EduTECH 2017 Library Congress Report

EduTECH conference – Library Congress, Sydney 2017

conference centre.jpg

EduTECH is the southern hemisphere’s biggest technology conference. In 2017 there were

  • 8760 attendees
  • 253 speakers
  • 200 exhibitors and
  • 8 parallel congresses

It was held in the new Sydney Conference and Convention Centre. I was invited to present for the Library Congress on the topic of Connected Classrooms: Global Classrooms. My presentation can be found on slideshare Connected Classrooms: Global Classrooms Or you can view it below. The online document that was created can be found by clicking here.

welcome to edutech

The 5 Takeaways from chair of Library Congress

  1. Look at how we use our spaces
  2. Challenge our own mindset, change the mindset of our staff
  3. It is ok to fail, you may not have mastered that task just yet.
  4. Collaboration can never be underestimated –
  5. Share the love of the library

Everyone was encouraged to keep the dialogue going after the conference.

the exhibition hall.jpg

As to the actual Library Congress, there were a number of interesting. A summary of those that resonated with me are outlined below.

The first session was “What makes a library great?” with Kim Tairi who spoke of the importance of empathy and user experience. This metaphor is big in NZ in Polynesian practice. Libraries are on a journey, looking at what has gone before and what is the future.

The library at AUT is dynamic, collaborative, noisy, messy, cafes, green screens, studios are all in the one building with the library as part of this space. Many students want quiet learning spaces. They have a level where we can play with design, evaluate and then iterate on a number of levels. Screens to sit down and talk to a service delivery librarian.

Incubator floor has a makerspace – Studio 55 – make, break, hack and make. Peer learning collaboration and is faculty agnostic. Many of uni innovative spaces are within faculties. Artist in residence, programming, framework, community of practice. Give library staff a space to play and learn new skills. Cultural transformation – giving people permission to work differently. People work in co-work spaces, collaborative spaces and prepares our students for the new world of work. Libraries need to reflect society that we are part of.

future library.jpg

To transform need to think about exploring eg indigenous culture – what does it mean to be a multi cultural woman and return to the homeland. Concepts of cultural change – be welcoming, hospitable and get people on board. Develop Empathy, Knowledge and Understanding. There are Issues with new spaces and staff with old mindsets:  It is important to know where you are going, so that you can still understand where you have been. Lyn Hay Designing future-focused school libraries

Online Leading Learning Institute Charles Sturt University

There is a need to rethink the functionality and design of your school library. What should our school library look like? (form). What do you want it to do? (function). How do we communicate what we stand for and what we do (branding) Rethinking school library as an iCentre https:/// What are you actually doing to get out there and live on people’s devices.

What is VR and AR?  With Chelsea Wright

VR and AR glasses

They use google card. Apps for VR should be integrated into library – catalogue it, training, procedures for use, storage, maintenance so teachers can access them.

Prepare the library – create user-case scenarios, instructions and promote it. Video See augmented reality in the library- examples of apps being used in our schools AR is good for increased motivation, collaboration, deeper content understandings, useful for teaching abstract topics, face on not side by side on individual computers. However, it can also be distractive technology.

Virtual reality – influences thinking and behavior It will potentially transform childrens’ health, educational and entertainment interactions. Virtual deppelganger – 3rd person controlled by simulation Avatar – first person, controlled by your body movements. Can choose an avatar that is very different to your body. Good apps to try are google earth, VCR Ancient World, HASS Ancient Egypt The Arts

Creating a high tech learning lab in a museum

See Matt Richard’s presentation, read his bio and follow him on twitter

Makey makey, students made an art bot with physical resources and collaboratively made music with garbage instruments

Flying machines programs – Everything students do is in Maori and they are actually creating language as they go. Maori Medium Project Showed a 360 video when looked at on phone, gives a VR experience. Tiltbrush is best VR creation ever.

3D can make worlds in worlds See Sutu eats flies. How can they get their collection into the world to actually get them into scanners so they can play with it and not just look at it. The paperlearning lab on youtube look for Donald  extending object based learning by making it digital. Can house it online at sketchfab?

Hololens – vendor stadium Headset which augments the real – adds the overlay to the real. Choose your own adventure around you. AR is used via gestures. Big headset now, but will soon become smaller glasses.  We have collaborations with schools across country – virtual excursions by beaming in with ghangouts etc See the learning labs and Why this museum lab generation is critical to learning.  Unscripted learning is great – collaboration is the whole theme of today at edutechau.

Jared Cooney Horvath, Co-president, The Science of Learning Group and The Education Neuroscience Initiative

Unless you have a concept for something you cannot see it. A tribe in The Himba do not have the colour blue in their language so interesting to test if they can or cannot see it. We have 27 shades of green and himba have 36. Our concepts our schema our stories drive our perception of the world around us. How can people from other cultures have never used blue, especially when the sky is blue.

The things we take for granted even to the point that the sky is blue is only because we have those concepts. The WHY of mindfulness – knowing all our stories are driving us to recognise stories to recognise what they are doing. It is the way we interact with the world. The more we can understand that we can control our own stories and destinations and change our own stories.

First you must learn the rules so you know how to break them properly. Think outside the box you have to know the box. The suggestion that stories drive our perception of the world is great for librarians.

Librarian panel discussion – books are still popular despite technology and digital media.

Silent room for year 12 studies (or at least the illusion of silence), dedicated zones for being quieter, but the buzz is likeable. Library is only space where students can collaborate as no classrooms are open at lunchtime. Healthy to have downtime, switch off and don’t study all the time.

Maker Movement at Bialikk College Roxanne Ciddor, Head of Educational Resources – library and elearning 3 year old kinder to year 12.

A maker movement can change our concepts of learning. Why in libraries?

A makerspace is a space for creativity, invention and making. It focuses on technology and is a bridge between creators and consumers. Library is where we can mix disciplines. Makerspaces are transliterate and exciting.

Roxanne started with a mixed box of lego purchased on ebay and left them in the waiting room. It was so popular that she then added more equipment and took over a space.  All you need for a makerspace is Blutac, straws and paddle pop sticks.  Not having everything builds resourcefulness. Students need time to play. Then open to coding, coding through a maze, add extra things to it. Until you let them play they will not consider the learning that can be had Use it like a toy, cos it feels like a toy. Took a year for makerspace to get through the play phase – they have played with everything and now have ownership.

Deconstructions: use fax machines, don’t include hammers or mallets (or batteries). Purpose parts and complexities – deconstructed this thing, what does it do, how did it fit in, how can we reconstruct. Remove the batteries and remove the power cords.  Deconstrucion builds that curiousity/methodical approach, playfulness, resourcefulness.

Restrict access to materials – cos kids wanted to just play with that robot. On Monday it will be a maker challenge – eg make a structure out of paddlepops that will hold an app. Tuesdays is coding eg robots, online coding Wednesday is low tech day eg painting, crochet to keep fine motor skills and a knitting pattern is code. Thursday have 3D Thursdays. Students start to plan. Students are getting more exposure to things. Building choice out of a lack of choice. Do keep track – don’t expect school admin to buy in without stats. Get kids to put their pics in the box eg with spheros so know if something is missing who left it out. Breeding responsibility – this is my equipt, what I booked and what I want to use. When students login it starts to give stats to go to admin to get more money. They have mix of age and mix of gender.Do allow students to be teachers, don’t expect them to be adultsStudents are monitors once a term. Give them fluoro vests. Track with dot on their photo. They are giving back, they belong to the community. Agency and responsibility: documentation – get kids to reflect on their learning. Make book = exercise book. Before end of every session, take a photo of what they have been doing and kids write a reflection. Give them starter sentences : eg today I tried this and it did not work. Rolling them over every year.

Reflective and mindfulness: Do make kids cry. Don’t let it be all about the product. Aim is build resilience and persistence to get their best work. Do be organised – lots of tubs and tables.

Final session of conference: Mr Mal Booth – uni librarian at UTS.  University library blog will have presentation.

Questions may be more important than answers. Netflix gives you instant access no longer in real time. What is a book these days? Really only journals or books online. Could learn more from gaming technology. They are a publisher as well – interactive text. Cecilia hefier is a textile artist.

Using multimedia with monographing.  Don’t wait until journal is finished, publish as you go. No longer a container that is published when it is full. Advocacy – help to explain what is open access, led by modelling. Cultural and artistic stimulation –; github is social coding reddit is questioning  Chris Gaul is an artist doing innovative things for libraries etc

Underground library – Elisa Lee and Adam Hinshaw Air 2014 Video of digital rendering of what underground books like.

Program Manifest 20th century. Live data feed. Zoe Sadokierski explored the nature of the book. Print and digital technology is actually assisting each other. Digital literacy kits – small low technology to prove that digital literacy is part of our world. Introduce students to technologies beyond snapchat and facebook.

closing ceremony

Closing session: Phillip Heath Barker college Darking Bridging the Education Gap

How can we reconcile all people as an Australian nation? Aboriginals were a mysterious group – depicted in the media but never seen.

Why Darkinjung Barker

  • To provide opportunities
  • Celebrate cultural identity
  • To provide support to ensure no-one slips through educational gaps
  • To offer choice
  • To enable a practical, two way reconciliation

They created a school by taking the city school to the place of the aboriginal students. Started a little school to provide choice and identity and bring aboriginal identity into an existing school. It is a partnership between an indigenous land council and one of the most prestigious private schools – Barker College. Started with 28 students just for indigenous children in the area. 1 teacher to 7 students.  It is sponsored by private corporations. One of the children and his mum lived in a car. Yet they deserve best opportunity that we can provide. Still find it hard to find answers. Have a large and growing indigenous population along the coast. The focus is on celebration of every child’s achievement with feedback about how they are going. Some kids were 2 to 4 years behind.

When you have never met an aboriginal person, you never get to care or see the real human stories. Education is part of the key to unlock the future.   Create a school on country – where first language is the school language. Do we dare to let go of the power and authority on the way we run schools and celebrate cultural identity first. Now creating a second school.

young people today.jpg