What is 21st Century Learning?

The following video helps to describe what it is to be a learner in the 21st Century. The video highlights some shifts in focus which are perhaps more valued now in education than they were for the majority of the 20th Century. This is not meant to be a definitive list just a chance for you to consider how you teach your children, and what your classroom looks like in relation to the things listed and mentioned in the video.

  • Love of embracing change
  • Curiosity and a questioning disposition
  • Collaboration
  • Being reflective
  • Technology and specifically the impact of mobile technology
  • Skills for creativity.
  • Change of focus from students consuming content to students creating content using new media technology.
  • Learning happens everywhere. Traditional school strucutres and timetables are slowly changing to be more flexible in a world where we can communicate anywhere any time.

ABC Splash for teachers, parents and students

This looks like a great new resource produced by the ABC. The statement below is taken directly from the site.

ABC Splash brings you the best Australian content from across ABC TV and Radio plus high-quality video from around the world.

  • a new world-class education website for Australia
  • packed with hundreds of videos, audio clips and games
  • 100% free to watch and play at home and in school

See volcanos erupt and microbats fly. Investigate fossils, megafires and worm farms. Meet fairytale monsters. Unwrap an Ancient Egyptian mummy and explore the Great Barrier Reef without getting wet!

Not only is there a great range of resources it is also connected to the Australian Curriculum. Definitely worth putting in your favourites.

Click here to visit the ABC Splash site to view a quick video explaining what ABC Splash is about.

Staying Relevant

When your computer goes down or the Internets not working you might ring a help desk for assistance. This video is a humorous take on what happens when someone can’t get their ‘new book’ working. They have been used to working with scrolls and this new technology has them confused!

When your viewing the video pretend the person learning to use this new book is a teacher. If he gives up because it is too hard/frustrating will he continue to be an effective teacher? The answer of course is no. Books will soon become common place and scrolls will disappear. He will no longer be able to communicate with his students effectively as schools will no doubt be using the new technology with students.

What is our understanding of how: 1. children use the following (in and out of school) and 2. how can we use the following for teaching and professional development?

  • The Internet beyond a google search (web 2.0 tools)
  • Programs beyond Microsoft Office
  • iPads and the thousands of apps available for education
  • Social media such as Facebook and Twitter (how do students use these? what are their pitfalls and benefits?)
  • Blogs (your own or professional reading)
  • Wikis
  • Gaming i.e. Minecraft, which by the way I think has great applications in the classroom
  • Smart phones
  • Creating a YouTube account
  • Being responsible for and maintaining our online footprint
  • BOYD programs (Bring Your Own Device)
  • Mobile Learning

Do we risk becoming obsolete over the next 5-10 years if we do not embrace and embed technology as part of our pedagogy beyond the twice a week visit to the computer suite? (note I said as ‘part of’, we should never throw out old still effective pedagogy just because something new comes along, we should however be adding to our pedagogical content knowledge).


While you ponder this question enjoy the video, it is very funny!

Getting Started – Classroom ideas for learning with the ipad

Click on the link below and have a look at the digital book “Getting Started  – Classroom ideas for learning with the ipad”. This was put out by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (Victoria) as one of the resources for an iPad trial in Victoria. Some good ideas about pedagogy and how ICT and iPads can be used. Click here to read the book “Getting Started  – Classroom ideas for learning with the iPad “.


Create educational videos




One way of helping students learn content or to understand concepts is to create a screen cast of your lesson and upload it to your You Tube channel for them to view as part of their homework or as a revision tool. There are many screen capture tools on the web that are free. The one that I prefer is Screen O Matic. Once you have an account you have access to 15 minutes of free screen capture time per video. The tool allows you to capture whatever is happening on your computer screen or interactive white board as well as audio and then turns it into a video.

Capturing your lesson notes and explanations is just one way of using screen capture technology. You can use it to:

  • get your students to demonstrate their learning by creating their own videos with explanations of concepts or topics.
  • produce an instructional video on a topic that you can use when required as part of a topic. This could be useful to help differentiate the class. While working with one group the video can be assisting another. Build up a library of these on your You Tube channel to use when needed.
  • produce a video that helps explain a concept or topic to upload to You Tube that can be used for homework. The video can help parents assist their children.

Screen capture technology is not only restricted to the web. The iPad has a wide range of apps that do the same thing. The two I have used are Educreations and Show Me.

I have used this technology (Screen O Matic, Educreations and Show Me) this year to create videos for my Year 12’s in physical education. These videos were created prior to me needing them and are designed to be used by my students as another way to access curriculum  content or review topics. Ed has also used this technology (Screen O Matic) with his Year 9 maths class. Ed captures the explicit teaching parts of his maths classes live while presenting to the students (using Screen O Matic and the interactive whiteboard).  This is a really impressive use of this tool. Students can go home and do their required home work and access Ed’s video explanations at home. What a great resource for his students!

If you are interested in using this technology then ask Ed or myself for help. Yes that’s right I said ask Ed for help with technology – he has done an awesome job using technology to help his student’s learning.


Ed’s You Tube Channel

Nick’s You Tube Channel

Example of video made using Educreations app – this video is an example of using the iPad to capture a lesson ‘live’. In my Stage 1 PE class (mostly yr 10’s) I hooked up the iPad to the data projector and then wrote on the iPad which recorded the text and my audio. As there is no IWB in science lab 1 the iPad replaced the IWB as the presentation tool.

Example of video using Show Me app

Easy Portfolio App

Something that that I am trying to improve in my teaching (slowly) is the recording and use of more formative assessment.

I need to understand more accurately where my students are at with their learning and feed this back to them on a more regular basis. How do I record the formative assessment that occurs in my HPE classes more effectively, in a way that I can easily access later/immediately?

My solution at the moment is the Easy Portfolio app for iPad. Here is an App that has powerful uses from Reception to Year 12. Once you have entered your student names you can build a portfolio for each student. You can add the following types of files to the student portfolios:

1. Video – add video taken at another time or take a video within the app and add immediately. Oral presentations, video of models and projects, video student collaboration. I have used this during term  3 to video my 7/8 students in practical lessons completing Touch Football drills (short 20 second videos).

2. Images – ad images stored on your iPad or take a photo within the app to add instantly to the portfolio. Take photos of student work or students completing tasks/working with others. I used this the other day with a student whose work would not save on the computer  or USB (it was an image with 5 associated words) so I took a photo of it and stored it in that students portfolio. Perfect for taking photos of student writing in junior primary, easy to see class/student progression in one place (on the iPad) instead of having to take home 17 books to look through.

3. Audio – add audio. This could be a conversation between you and a student (conferencing) or record a students oral presentation and instantly place it in their portfolio.

4. Notes – add notes. Type in notes about students attitude, behaviour, absence, performance, learning etc…

5. URL – add a URL. Add web addresses that contain student work ie a Glogster poster, a photo stored on Flikr, a blog or a website that enhances work they completed elsewhere.

6. Documents – add a document. Documents (all office documents) can be uploaded to the Easy Portfolio app. You do need a Dropbox account  (online/cloud storage 2G free) as the  creator of the app has linked it with Dropbox. I have used this function with my year 9 students by getting them to save a document to my USB. I then copy and paste them into a folder in drop box, assess them/add comment then upload them to the portfolio app. You can’t edit them once they are in the portfolio app. Two minute video explaining Dropbox click here. Download Dropbox click here.

This app would also be great for parent teacher interviews. Connect it up to the white board and show parents and students examples of work completed over the term or semester to enhance discussions about student learning. No need to have piles of books, paper, posters, projects within reach when conducting parent teacher interviews.

To see how the Easy Portfolio app works watch this video made by its creator Jared Robinson.

LEGO Digital Designer

I have just come across this great LEGO creating software. This is free software that can be downloaded onto MAC or Windows machines. There is a PDF manual that can be saved from the website as well giving hints and tips about the tools available within the program.


This software would be great for doing some design tech work with your students. There are no instructions on how to build particular items so students could design and create their own models or bring in instructions from LEGO models they have at home and use these to build models within this program. It does take a little while to get used to the program but in half an hour with the use of the manual I created the car below, not brilliant I know but it demonstrates that in minimal time students could begin creating. The other positive is that most students are familiar with LEGO and the way it works so this should increase their ability to learn and understand the program.

The program allows you to take screen shots from any angle and save them to your computer. A great tool for students to present their completed model.

If you are interested in the program download it and have a play at home or if you have kids let them have a go and see what they think. If you would like to use it with your class I see no reason why we can’t convince ‘the school’ to put this program into one of the suites or onto the new laptops. Creativity, planning, design, building, working with a partner, presenting a product the possibilities for use in the classroom are wide ranging. On top of this I think the students would really enjoy using the program. My suggestion is that this program would be useful from Year 3/4 and up.

If you are looking to develop and broaden your pedagogy this program also offers the opportunity to explore a variety of methods including:

Use prior knowledge, collaborative, teacher modeling, student led, open ended task, goal setting, self paced, scaffolding, teacher feedback, skill transference, risk taking, share learning, , creative thinking, critical thinking, reflection, individual, group, explicit teaching of collaboration, explicit teaching of higher order thinking, authentic problem, multimedia, self evaluation, peer evaluation, explicit teaching of peer assessment, explicit teaching of self assessment, communication through practical, communication through art, communication through writing.

Arts Connected Toolkit

This site provides information about visual elements and principles of art. Information is provided about line, colour, space, shape, balance, movement & rhythm. There are also two videos which show professional artists creating original art works using the principles covered in the toolkit section of the site. The site also provides an Encyclopedia which is an in-depth guide to learning more about the building blocks  of composition. Here you’ll see many examples of works of art that illustrate  the visual elements and principles. Looks like an easy to use and informative site for helping to teach students about art.

Click here to visit ArtsConnected

Don’t forget to visit the Curriculum page on this site for web resources associated with subject areas including the Arts Connected Toolkit.