Take YOUR OneNote to the Next Level!!

Many staff (and steadily increasing), particulalry at the Senior Campus have started using OneNote to share, collect and monitor course material, notes and student work.  This can initially be a challenge to set up, but once it is running is sooo simple.  In fact, many teachers are increasingly using this as a preferred method of sharing digital content (hyperlinks, attachments…) instead of DayMap or Blogs (which has both benefits and some considerations to take into account).

The video below is a great demonstration of more creative ways you can provide feedback to students through OneNote:

Swinburne University are offering a PD in this areas on the 24th of October – Please complete an application on PD Tracker and let me (Mark Seijbel – seijbel.mark.m@edumail.vic.gov.au) if you are keen to attend.

PLEASE ask me for a hand to set this up for your class, to show you some ways you can use it in your class, to come into your class and help you and students get started… or anything else!!!!

OneNote resources, cheat sheets, guides… can be found (as always) in our Tech Tute Corner: Digital Notebooks – OneNote. More DayMap Cheat sheets coming.  PLEASE provide feedback and identify needs for assistance!

2013 VCAL Program

Hi Everyone!

Chris and myself have been hard at work getting our head around what a really good VCAL program at TC in 2013 would look like. We thought that some people would appreciate an update of where we are at and what we are working on at the moment.

The plan was to spend Term 3 working out the conceptual framework for the new program – starting with the question “what are the main principles/elements we want to include?” and then at the beginning of term 4, present this to staff and get expressions of interest to be involved in the program next year. During term 4 is when we will work with the interested staff to plan the nuts and bolts of the program.

So, where are we?

We have some guiding principles that form the basis of our investigation which have come from the VCAL design as well as our own reserach into engagement and how people learn. We will be trying to implement a program that;
– is AUTHENTICALLY engaging for students – seen as meaningful and they have a personal involvement with it
– is PROJECT based – students a big concept that they need to explore and unpack to work towards
– has links to the REAL WORLD – students research, work on, develop things outside of the school/class
– involves student choice and promotes AGENCY – the student being active in independantly seeking and constructing their own learning.

Our next step was to identify the types of programs that could be implemented that would involve these elements – each of which has it’s pro’s and con’s. We identified 3 broad options.

Integrated class project that contributes to the running of the school (running deb ball, running canteen).

This would involve a class of students using a big, useful, practical activity to work towards most of their VCAL outcomes. It is likely that all students would do a VET that is linked to the project and a work placement that is also relevant. School time would be split between running the project, doing projects that reserach aspects of the project and contribute to VCAL outcomes, and participating in some ‘masterclasses’ which focus on VCAL outcomes that are difficult to integrate into the project.

We visited the Grange P1-12 school in Hoppers Crossing where VCAL students ran the canteen. There were a number of factors that we really like and some which we did not think were applicable to our needs.

Advisory Model

This would involve students identiying areas of personal interest and working with an ‘advisor’ instead of a teacher. Each student has a ‘Learning through Internship” (LTI) where they have a community mentor in their interest area and their work at the their internship is linked to what they are doing at school. This is slightly different to the curent work placement arrangements as the work they do in their interneship is linked to their project at school. They each design a personal learning plan with their parent, advisor and mentor and spend a large portion of their time at school working on their own research projects within their interest area.

This structure is centred around the idea of student ‘agency’  and the idea that “the way to learn how to be an adult is to do adult stuff”. It is based on the ‘Big Picture’ Model of schools which began in the US in the late 1990’s and is now starting to take off in Australia. We attended a Big Picture network meeting yesterday to see what they are all about and were quite impressed with how things work and the results they are getting. This model would give us the best opportunity to incoporate the principles mentioned at the outset but is the most aspirational – higher levels of staff understanding and training would be required to use this model.



We spoke with Elliott Washor who founded the first big picture schools in the US via Skype yesterday who showed us the story of Caine’s arcade which illustrates perfectly the idea of student agency and the type of things we would like to see our students being able to do.


Caine’s Arcade from Nirvan Mullick on Vimeo.

Mixed model

Our third option is a mix of the two. An overall theme/project that applies to every VCAL student, with some common activities, projects that every student does, but with an individual element that each student can work on. An example of this could be a school business that produces and then sells goods and services to the community. Students would continue developing some of the skills they have been learning this year through the virtual enterprise program and take turns to have roles within the business, and do research projects to increase their understanding’s of certain areas. Each student would also need to construct or provide some service for the business. Some students might make and sell coffee’s another could build chairs etc.

Our inspiration for this idea was from Nagle College in Bairnsdale. They have a school e-store where the public can buy products online using their credit card. We are still intending to visit Nagle but have ben unable to to so far.


If you have any feedback, ideas etc based on what we have so far, please feel free to let us know. We will be making a decision in consultation with the leadership team about which of these is the best models, and presenting this information along with explanations, rationale’s etc to staff in Week 2 of term 4. Once the overall details are finalised, we will be able to start involving interested staff in the planning process.

Also, any advance expressions of interest in being involved based on what we have so far are welcome.




Classroom Display Options – A question of Pedagogy, Vision and Design?

The college is currently trying to establish classroom display priorities as we continue to improve technology integration into our teaching practices and facilities.

Teachers from the JC and SC who have participated in the National Secondary School Computer Fund – 1:1 working group identified “projectors” for classrooms as a priority for this funding at the end of last year. Now, as we are formulating our long term approach to the end goal of a 7-12 1:1 program, and we realise that the government is no longer going to provide ongoing funding for this initiative (netbooks / 1:1), we are able to finalise the resources available for this priority area.

In order to carry out a needs analysis in this area, we ask that all teachers who wish to have/change/add to the display capabilities in their classroom/s complete a brief survey (link at bottom of page) for each teaching space they think needs to be considered.

When completing this survey we need to consider the main activities and priorities for display options in YOUR classroom in the “21st Century”.  With increasing connectivity, bandwidth and individual student devices – the need to show movies to a whole class at the same time, assuming they are at that point in their learning is changing, but at times relevant.  Certainly “death by powerpoint” is something we (myself included) try to avoid.  AB tutor is also currently allowing us to share student work on displays and our own desktops on student devices.  You may also be choosing to do more group work in flexible spaces – instead of sitting in rows.  Additionally physical factors like sunlight, size of room and “on/off” functionality needs to be considered.  Please take these issues into account when deciding on your needs and preferred options.

To get the “ball rolling” so to speak – the survey seeks feedback on the three “most affordable” options – and a brief overview of each is provided below:

Option 1: Long Throw Projector with Speakers

Description: A projector mounted on the ceiling, with a pull down screen in front of the whiteboard.  Ideally two speakers are mounted on the wall, there is a VGA input cable to the teachers desk and an on/off switch on the wall next to the whiteboard (need to ensure this – caused trouble with remotes in the past).

Advantages include: Cheapest Option, brighter projectors now affordable/available, and provides largest display options.

Disadvantages include: most affected by sunlight, least flexible for moving around, remote/on/off issues.  If not mounted high enough and/or teacher likes to stand in front of the screen (to point out stuff physically – instead of with a mouse) can cause shadows on board or shine in teacher’s eyes.

Option 2: Short Throw Projector with Speakers

Description: A projector usually mounted above the whiteboard on a bracket the comes out horizontally about 30cm to 80cm from the wall, with a pull down screen in front of the whiteboard.  Ideally two speakers are mounted on the wall, there is a VGA input cable to the teachers desk. Sometimes the on/off switch on the wall next to the whiteboard (need to ensure this – caused trouble with remotes in the past) or sometimes the projector is low enough to just hit the power button. Have recently become more affordable (now only marginally more expensive than long throw)

Advantages include:  Still provides a large display area.  No shadows on the board or light in teacher’s eyes of standing in front of board. Less affected by sunlight / brighter rooms.

Disadvantages include: Very limited flexibility for moving around, remote/on/off likely to be an issues. Maintenance costs slightly more expensive.

OPTION 3: Large lcd display mounted above whiteboard

Description: A large LCD “TV” monitor (like the one in the S block corridor, JC library, SC Study centre…) mounted on the wall next to or above the whiteboard with a VGA input cable to the teachers desk. Will require a remote, or ability to reach the buttons on the unit to switch on and off. Can also be set up on a trolley, like the Polycomm unit with the camera on top at the Senior Campus.  Have recently become more affordable but still generally more expensive than projectors.

Advantages include:   Least affected by sunlight / brighter rooms – bright sharp image.  Good for videos, images, music…  Can be more flexible, especially when mounted on a trolley (damage, theft considerations would have to be taken into account).

Disadvantages include: Smallest display size – may be difficult to read PowerPoint slides from back of room.  Seems to be more inviting for vandalism/theft (not sure why).

The above are three suggested models.  Recently large touch screens and interactive whiteboards have come onto the market – but currently still cost at least twice as much as their non-interactive equivalents above.  The video below shows an interactive projector.

With a global trend towards greater student centred and collaborative learning integrated with ICT devices, flexible innovative learning spaces are increasing.  As the teacher becomes more of a guide and mentor, as opposed to the “sage on the stage” these spaces seem more appropriate and I certainly would love to teach in one.  If you are working towards this kind of set up, it may have implications for the device you choose (ie. flexibility – screen on trolley…)….

To complete the survey – click here.

Please share your thoughts, needs, and views in the comments below.

Inquiry-Based Learning P&D group

Welcome to Traralgon College Inquiry-Based Learning

 An important aspect of inquiry-based science is the use of open learning. Open learning has no prescribed target or result which students have to achieve. There is an emphasis on the individual manipulating information and creating meaning from a set of given materials or cirumstances. For example, in many conventional traditional science experiments, students are told what the outcome of an experiment will be, or is expected to be, and the student is simply expected to ‘confirm’ this. Another example would be to provide “the big idea” as a hook to stimulate ideas from class.

WebQuests webstie: Quest Garden: http://questgarden.com/author/examplestop.php


Augmented Reality – the 8th Mass Medium

Tomi Ahonen – TEDxMongKok – a great overview of Augmented Reality – Where we are now and where it may go.  What implications might this have for Education?

You can create new Layars with your class now – A tour around Traralgon?  Layar Creator (more info on how to create – see Mark Seijbel or Danie Farrant for more info).

See more in action: