VITTA Conference 2012 (ICT Conference) Notes by KEA

Here are my notes from a conference Dan Farrant and I went to last week. There was lots of relevant and interesting ideas for any curriculum area so I thought I’d share my notes through this blog. These are just my notes from what the presenters said that I wanted to capture so please don’t take them necessarily as my thoughts/opinions. However, there is also an ideas section at the bottom that are my ideas. If you would like any more information from the conference, feel free to drop me an email.


Kezia Easter


VITTA Conference 2012 – 6th August

Keynote Address: Yong Zhao

Twitter: @YongZhaoUO

Book: World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students

ICT profession more than just programming. Need management skills, creativity, etc.

What kind of students do we have to produce? Is the question, not what ICT skills we teach, not what curriculum we teach.

The world doesn’t need a whole lot of students educated with exactly the same skills and the same level.

Every industry is now global.

Schools traditionally have created employees. Now we need to move towards creating entrepreneurs: business entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, policy entrepreneurs… Mass entrepreneurship.

What are the entrepreneurial qualities? How can we increase these in our students?

“Quality” education could hurt student learning confidence.

Personalised and strength-based curriculum for all INDIVIDUAL students. – support for ILPs for all students???

Student autonomy – global campus – product-oriented learning – share skills and knowledge. Education as a global enterprise.


The Changing Space of Education – Anne Mirtschin


google doc:

Learning can happen 24/7, not just in the classroom. (Cyber Safety)

Online webinars offered through the Zoo website. Bringing the world to the classroom.

Adobe Connect

Blackboard Collaborate – free for DEECD schools: can share files through this.

Google Hangouts



e.g. connecting gifted students across classrooms learning about the same thing. Share guest speakers. online debates with other schools. Lunchtime activities for small groups to connect to guest speakers outside of the school.

Recording lessons for students to be able to re-visit later.

Share teacher/student expertise with other classes.

Use chat to clarify confusions during lessons.

Mystery Skype: Skype with people overseas with students. Students can ask yes/no questions of person to work out where they are.



Thinking in the Cloud:


Concept mapping: Presenting learning or “maps” of content using or spiderscribe. Can embed photos or videos or documents. Use to map learning progress for students.

Wallwisher: online sticky note board. or Edistorm for mobile apps.

Other Options: thoughtboxes, spicynodes, slatebox.

DFA: Writing and collaboration redefined by google docs video on youtube. Students do work on Google docs and share with teacher so teacher can check and edit and comment in real time while students are working on it. Assessment as Learning.

Read Write Think. USA based. Not true cloud-based but lots of good ideas and resources.

HackPad. Allows to replay of creation of the document to see the process of learning. Can create multiple layers of documents.

Dipity. Xtimeline. Digital timelines. Create and share timelines.

Ted-Ed. Create scaffolded discussions around video content. Get students to do this! Video content created by teachers and animated by artists. Can also create your own. Students watch video, take quiz, check answers, think questions, dig deeper questions – with info and other resources linked to the topic.

Youtube for schools. Can be embedded into Ted Ed.

Vialogues. Similar to Ted Ed.


SimpleMind+ for creating mind maps



Inspiration Maps Lite


Keynote Address: Greg Whitby – Learning by Inquiring


From I know, to we learn.

Knowing who your Learners are is the starting point. Not sit down this is what you’re going to learn. Where is their ZPD? What do they need next to help them learn individually?

It’s about the students learning something.  Support for LI’s.

Teachers as inquirers to learn about their craft.

Whose responsibility is it to learn? The learner! Both teachers and students.

Timperly’s inquiry cycle.

How do you use data to inform your teaching?

Use what we’ve got now to its potential.

Imagination/vision, creativity, innovation.

Improving practice will make the difference.

Get rid of staff rooms 🙂 eat when you need to, etc. same with students…


Going Digital – Lenva


BYOD program. Use of Google Apps for Education. Whole school use of EPortfolios through wikis/Google apps. Expectation that all teachers utilise ICT in all aspects of the classroom.

What we want our students to look like? What can we do to get them there? What do we need to do as a school to get them there?

Common understandings and tools.

Sustainablility of new approaches needs to be considered.

Creation of a trust model.

Creation of a policy for mobile devices. Keep it simple. Students, parents and staff sign.

Keep track of devices brought into school. Ultimate responsibility is with the student.

Requirement that laptops are on home and contents insurance.

Lease options for students without their own device.

Use of anything that can access the internet. Preferred to have laptops or tablets. But ipods or phones can be used.

Considerations of how to allow students to access the wireless network on their devices.

Unplugged solutions: picasa web, webdav, email, cloud storage, media.

All classes have an account in divshare to store/embed into their portfolio all media for that class.

Partnerships with other local/feeder schools to upskill all teachers on ICT capacity.

Use of Google Apps for Education and Teacher Dashboard through Google to keep track of student eportfolios. Can easily see if students have/have not updated their portfolio.

Teaching students and teachers which formats are best to store work in, e.g. docs, avi, pdf, etc.

Use of student leaders who receive training and then go and share this knowledge with their classes.

Compulsory apps for students who use tablets/ipods/phones to be able to do work. e.g. Printcentral, wifiphoto transfer, goodreader, voice thread, blogger, etc. some paid and some free.

Only use apps that can be used to create new content. As opposed to drill and practice games, etc.

No difference between what students do at home and at school. Makes learning seem more real.

ICT pedagogy coach with full release time to meet with teachers, drop in to classes, share knowledge, etc.

Brings the devices out of hiding.

Digital citizenship program with culture of trust to ensure all students use devices appropriately, resulting in privileged use and open use of devices for all students. one wrecks it for all.

How to screen casts created by teachers and students for teachers and students.


Blogging in English in Year 9:


check out virtual choir video for analogy for working together collaboratively online to create a whole. Point: amazing things can happen online when we work together. Also illustrates the connections between people even when we’re spread out over the world. Where are the connections in the classroom? How can we help each other to create something great? i.e. learning!

Are we afraid of what can happen? Are these fears unfounded? How will we know?

Opportunities for shy students to be able to share their knowledge/thoughts/opinions in a format that allows them to be able to do this.

Idea of the smartest person in the room being the room. The collective brainpower!

Don’t just consume, create! Rheingold.

How do we get students to be more reflective and better critical thinkers? Blogging! Not assess it though. Allowing students to be more honest and accurate.

Students can read each other’s writing and get excited about others seeing their work. Gives it a real audience. Getting a global audience too! Use of online networks to promote students’ writing. Through Facebook/Twitter/etc.

Preparation: How to behave online. Rules: traditional and what’s most important – how to give real feedback/comments. e.g. give it a context, proofread, etc.

Keeping a journal that has a public audience. Use interesting/thought provoking prompts for writing e.g. You are what you know. Do something life affirming and write about it. Add how and why questions to prompt thinking. Go to Wikipedia and read a random article. Get lost online. Online serendipity. Go down to the first link that captures your attention and follow it., repeat. Write about connections you can see between what you learn between subjects.

Invite authors or personalities to read and respond to students’ blogs. Encouraging them as writers/creators.

Investigate students’ own authorial voice, rather than just what the teacher wants to hear.




Create a video sharing an aspect of your life that you can teach others. i.e. life on a farm, travel, sports, art, hobbies, parents’ business/job.

Use Twitter to clarify confusions (students ask questions during lesson and hashtag specific lesson/topic). Teacher to respond to later or share questions to all respond to collaboratively.

Year Level connectedness through edmodo??? A page for the year level?

Social and learning etiquette for using mobile devices. i.e. not on them when being spoken to.

Digital Citizens: Creation of a trust model for students to be able to use devices as learning tools.

Asking “why are we doing this?” for our pedagogy and curriculum. Who is learning? How do we know this is at the appropriate level? What evidence is there to show they are learning?

Drop in sessions early in the morning with PD for whatever is needed by staff.

Use of student leaders who receive training and then go and share this knowledge with their classes.

Guide to commenting on blogs through Grammar Girl.





Talking about Differentiation

Differentiation-“Taking the Scenic Route”

In the Handbook for the Inspection of Schools published by OFSTED, differentiation is defined as:

 “The matching of work to the differing capabilities of individuals or groups of pupils in order to extend their learning.”

Whether a class is setted or mixed ability, it will have a range of different abilities. In their published reports OFSTED have made it clear that differentiation involves recognising the variety of individual needs within a class, planning to meet those needs, providing appropriate delivery and evaluating the effectiveness of the activities in order to maximise the achievements of individual students.

1. Differentiation By Objective

The same general lesson objective but more specific targets ie

“By the end of the lesson:

ALL of you will…………

Most of you will……….

SOME of you will……..

2. Differentiation by Content

The pupils study different materials within the same topic area but do the same activities.

3. Differentiation by Activities

The pupils study the same content but do different activities.

4. Differentiation by Negotiation

The pupils study different materials within the same topic area and also do different activities. Teachers help pupils to select appropriate materials.

5. Differentiation by Support*

The pupils study the same materials, do the same activities, but receive different amounts of support from the teacher or from extra printed information.

6. Differentiation by Extension*

The pupils study the same materials and do the same activities. Extension work is given to the most able after they have finished the basic activities.

7. Differentiation by Response*

The pupils are set open-ended assignments that can be interpreted at different levels.

8. Differentiation by Group Work

The pupils work in mixed ability groups. Pupils help each other by working together and interpreting the tasks at different levels.

9. Differentiation by Gradation*

The pupils are given the same information and activities. The activities become progressively more difficult. The pupils work through the activities at different rates and therefore only the more able do the more difficult tasks.

10. Differentiation by Role

The pupils carry out different activities depending on the role they are playing in a simulation. The roles are matched to the abilities, aptitudes and needs of the pupil.

Another Viewpoint:

Four Ways to Differentiate

Differentiation can occur in the content, process, product or environment in the classroom.

1. Differentiating the Content/Topic

Content can be described as the knowledge, skills and attitudes we want children to learn. Differentiating content requires that students are pre-tested so the teacher can identify the students who do not require direct instruction. Students demonstrating understanding of the concept can skip the instruction step and proceed to apply the concepts to the task of solving a problem. This strategy is often referred to as compacting the curriculum. Another way to differentiate content is simply to permit the apt student to accelerate their rate of progress. They can work ahead independently on some projects, i.e. they cover the content faster than their peers.

2. Differentiating the Process/Activities

Differentiating the processes means varying learning activities or strategies to provide appropriate methods for students to explore the concepts. It is important to give students alternative paths to manipulate the ideas embedded within the concept. For example students may use graphic organisers (maps, diagrams or charts etc) to display their comprehension of concepts covered. Varying the complexity of the graphic organizer can very effectively facilitate differing levels of cognitive processing for students of differing ability.

3. Differentiating the Product

Differentiating the product means varying the complexity of “the product” that students create to demonstrate mastery of the concepts. Students working at a lower level may have reduced performance expectations, while students at a higher level may be asked to produce work that requires more complex or more advanced thinking.

4. Differentiating by Manipulating the Environment or Through Accommodating Individual Learning Styles

Even though this approach looks at learning styles in vastly different ways they all have merit for some children. However, an amalgamation or blending of these concepts is probably more effective than any one approach.

To include:

  • change the lighting or sound levels, to eliminate visual distracters
  • provide a more casual seating arrangement
  • Varying teaching strategies makes sure that students will occasionally learn in a manner compatible with their own learning preference