What does the data say about our iPad usage at PBAS?

Our school set of 30 iPads are used on a daily basis (almost), certainly every week across R-10 with the majority of regular use being the R-4 students.

In the first 4 weeks of term 2 our class set of iPads has been booked for 40 out of a possible 120 lessons across R-9. On top of this 11 of those lessons have seen multiple classes accessing the iPads at the same time.

As well as how often are they used it is interesting to look at what they are being used for. With the help of the screen time function in the iPads settings I have been able to look at usage over a three day period in week 3 this term.

The screen time function categorises usage into areas like Education, Creativity etc while also tracking individual application usage.

It is great to see that in the categories section Education, Creativity, Productivity and Reading and Reference came out as the top 4 categories while Other, Games and Entertainment were lower down. Even better is that creativity appears in the top two, indicating that the iPads are not just being used for “traditional” schooling activities.

The top 4 categories mentioned combined for just over 11 hours per day across 23 iPads or an average of 28 minutes per iPad per day.

It is important to remember that this data is taken over a very short time period. Use of apps like iMove, Garageband, Scratch, Geoboard and many others not mentioned are specialty apps which get used when the need arises. For example an English task requiring students to video and edit an oral presentation would involve significant use for a short period of the Camera and iMovie apps. Apps like Safari and Literacy Planet which are research and practice based apps are naturally used on a more regular basis.

While this data is very narrow I believe it is a consistant representation of how we have used the iPads since including them as part of our ICT resources in 2013.

Primary PE – Games and The Australian Curriculum

Games are a great way for teachers to address aspects of the HPE Australian Curriculum Achievement Standards. Students love playing games and they can be useful when assessing student learning in HPE.

Considerations when using games to assess aspects of the HPE Achievement Standards:

  • Is there a purpose for playing the game? What aspect of the Achievement Standard is being assessed?
  • Do the students know what is being assessed? How is the learning intention communicated to the students?
  • Is there an assessment tool to record student learning? Video evidence, observational notes, a tick box rubric etc.
  • Is there an opportunity for questioning students about the game? How can we be more effective at the game? What strategies do you use? Can we modify rules/equipment to make it more enjoyable, increase participation, make it safer?
  • Is there an opportunity for feedback about the learning? Is time provided to apply feedback?

Aspects of the R-6 Achievement Standards relevant to playing games

Games can be used with R – 6 students to demonstrate:

  • fundamental movement skills (catching, throwing, jumping, hopping, dodging, skipping etc)
  • safe play
  • knowledge of body reactions to movement like increased breathing and heart rate, sweating, and tiredness
  • positive interactions with others (personal and social skills)
  • the ability to adapt and change to solve movement challenges.

Foundation (Reception)

Year 1/2

Year 3/4

Year 5/6

Resources (click on the images below)

Design Thinking

At the start of the year teachers at PBAS were presented with the engineering design process. Engineering is a key component of the STEM pedagogy and it is important that students and teachers develop a common understanding of the process and why it is important.  For a  detailed explanation of this process visit the Teaching Engineering website.

Get access to the Engineering Design Process poster HERE.

Get access to the Engineering Design Process explanation HERE.



To help reinforce the idea of design thinking watch how Mandi Dimitriadis from Makers Empire explains the process using a Year 1 class and their problem of identical looking school bags.

This video is from a new Professional Development series presented by Makers Empire for teachers which includes three units:

  1. Teaching in 3D (Introduction, Planning & Designing Tasks, Integration, Design Thinking)
  2. Using Lesson Plans (Introduction, Lesson Library, Creating and Sharing)
  3. Getting the most from Makers Empire (Introduction, Deeper Engagement, Managing 3D Printing, Implementation)

This Professional Development series is available to PBAS staff by logging into our Makers Empire Dashboard and clicking on Professional Development in the side bar. If you need a log in see Nick to organise one.

3D Printing Catapult Challenge

At the end of 2018 we ran a STEM catapult challenge with our Year 9 class as a trial for future STEM programs at Years 7-10. Below are links to the resources we developed. The program also contains reflections about what went well and what didn’t. Feel free to borrow these resources and modify to suit your cohort or Year level.

Yr 9 STEM Catapult program with teacher feedback-2950sl7

Year 9 STEM Catapult Challenge Task Sheet-2e2xxcg

Engineer Design Process Student Booklet-1hajjfp

Catapults STEM-1usdi6j

Makers Empire refelction-ryh3rb

Makers Empire Introductory Lesson-2d8obzq

Does your seating plan impact on the support you give to certain students?

I recently completed an observation with our Year 1/2 teacher and a supporting SSO. The purpose of the observation was to determine if some students were missing out on 1:1 support and if others were getting significantly large amounts of 1:1 time. The class was a maths problem solving lesson and involved the teacher and an SSO (SSO role was to support all students).

There are many things that contribute to who receives support in a classroom, level of student knowledge, disruptive behaviour, who puts their hand up etc. While these have all been discussed as part of the follow up to the observation it was interesting to observe a pattern in the data linked to student seating in the classroom. This was not something we had been looking for.

Note: This photo was not taken during the observation but later when most students were out of the classroom.


Connections between student support data and the seating plan:

  • The boxes containing a percentage represent a student and where they sit. The percentage represents the amount of 1:1 teacher time they received during the lesson.
  • The yellow students are in the central walk way. Even without the data it was obvious the movement of teacher and SSO was back and forth through this area.
  • The large coloured box is the average 1:1 time for each coloured section.
  • The yellow students received 33% more 1:1 support time than the green students.
  • The yellow students received 48% more 1:1 time than the red students.
  • On average the yellow students received approximately 41% more 1:1 time than the rest of the class.
  • Interestingly the lowest student (blue 1%) is not clearly linked to any path the teacher or SSO was taking. This was due to limited space between this student and the desks behind them.
  • Interestingly not all percentages are equal. During my observations it was clear that the yellow students received more consistent support. Yellow students got regular feedback. The green student who got 5% support time received all of this in the last few minutes of a 50 minute lesson. A yellow student with the same percentage of support was receiving help then 10 minutes later had the teacher/SSO checking in with them to see how they had gone. This pattern of less consistent support was observed with almost all red and green students.

This data is from a single lesson so it is hardly conclusive but it does make for an interesting discussion.

Does your seating plan create a path that you unconsciously follow? If so does this mean some students get more access to your support due to where they sit?