Monday, 22 May 2017

Digital Bytes 22nd May 2017


Flipgrid is an easy to use video reflection tool.

As a teacher, you can post a prompt and your students can respond with a video reflection. Here is an example from Grade 4 teacher, ADE and Flipgrid Ambassador, Andy McGovern.

As always, remind your students to use headphones for the best quality recording.

Images to Inspire

We know images have the power to spark creative thinking, but we seldom make the most of this fact when providing writing stimuli for students. Thankfully, this website has you covered! You can view by collection (e.g. Inference collection) or by latest image. All images are shared with permission by the original artist, which is great to model for your students.

Quick Draw

Quickdraw is a project from Google which is using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to recognize drawings.

You can help and have some fun along the way by adding to the world largest doodling data set. It is a quick timed activity so you only have 20 seconds to create each drawing and Google is trying to guess what you are drawing the whole time.

After you have tried 6 drawings, you can see what other people drew in response to the same prompt you had.

May Round Up: The Networked Teacher Learner

Our five-month challenge started here, and now we are lucky to have our first rotation of what Silvia Tolisano refers to as 'Mulling it Over.' online learning community is a manifestation of connectivism as knowledge is distributed throughout the community of people and devices. A blog would serve as a connectivist tool as it facilitates interaction between peer and social communities of learners, continuity of conversations and allows for anytime, anyplace, anywhere learning (Garcia et al., 2015). Other tenets of connectivism addressed through a blog include the ability to involve external experts, control of the environment by the learner as they make and maintain their own connections, and the shift in the role of the teacher as students become accountable to one another (Garcia, Brown, & Elbeltagi, 2012).From CONNECTIVISM AND BLOGGING by Madeleine Brookes

So before we dig into our first cycle of reading and commenting, please pause and consider the words of the recent student speaker, Kavya, in her address at the Class of 2017 graduation:

"A legacy is not always just about you leave behind, but is also about what other people carry away from you."

With this in mind, here are our first blog-bundles for May.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Digital Bytes - 8th May, 2017

Easiest Slideshow Ever!

With the newest update to iOS, you have access to the easiest slideshow making tool we have ever seen: Memories.

Simply put a number of photos into a folder on your iPad or iPhone,, open the folder and tap on the dates at the top of the screen and your slideshow is made! You can add or take out photos and even include videos.

You’re Not Going to Believe What I’m About to Tell You

The Oatmeal has produced a classroom-friendly cartoon about the Backfire Effect - the reasons why people find it difficult to accept information that challenges their world view. This graphic is best suited to students G5 and above, but will be an interesting read for all teachers.

Digital Breakout

BreakoutEDU is a fantastic experience which focuses on a group’s ability to work together and solve a series of problems.

Digital Breakouts have no physical components and only need an internet connected device. There are different challenges for various age levels. Try them out yourself!

Friday, 28 April 2017

Why Digital Literacy and Learning Spaces belong together.

"The teacher no longer needs to be the holder of information...but rather can become a co-learner..."

When we reenvision our spaces together, what do we learn together?

You may have seen a few posts documenting this year's experimentation and thinking around learning spaces in this post, this post, this episode or this one. Like all aspects of doing what we do well as educators, that journey is multi-faceted, ongoing, and collaborative.

Where does Digital Literacy fit in?

Everywhere.  As our digital tools continue to enable more self-directed, collaborative, and authentic learning experiences, our physical spaces need to evolve with that shift.  Consider the changes you've seen in airports, banks, and movie theatres: technology has changed the way those spaces are streamlined and structured.  So what might that mean for your room?  

Spaces which allow for collaboration and independent inquiry

Spaces which value choice and independence

Spaces which direct learners to our understanding of Creative Commons
All signage custom made for the theme using The Noun Project for support

How does a shift in our learning space design shift our thinking about online spaces?

With better online spaces, we are able to better preserve, share and curate resources.  How often do we post something with size font 12 writing to a wall--rendering it visible only to those directly in front of it, and only when they are in the physical space.
Which resources are better presented through our college's digital tools? 
And to what extent do our digital tools better allow us to generate an ongoing dialogue with those resources with our learners?  
Additionally, which physical resources can we provide access to in our digital spaces?

When we worked with Georgina to revamp her room,  the signage was intentionally organized to be readily accessible to students regardless of their location (see these IBDP Psychology provocations linked to her new room theme #pathways). That slide deck is now accessible to students even after they graduate.  It makes use of open use images, and can easily be shared with DP Psychology teachers outside of the college for feedback and future exchange (in just three days it has been viewed 35 times).

Can a classroom revamp remind us of the power of networked learning?

When looking to remodel Louie's Chemistry classroom, we wanted to be able to use a few amazing images we found online.  Via Twitter, we contacted the creator, and he responded...within the hour:

How does a focus on learning spaces remind us of the power of our digital tools?

Whist commonly overlooked as resources, Keynote and Pages have been essential tools of the various classroom revamps happening.  Now, more than ever before it is easier to make signage which perfectly reflects our learning ethos and speaks to the culture of our various classrooms.


These collaborative classroom revamps have reminded us that we can make creative work together. Rethinking classroom design asks us to speak with people across faculties and schools to better understand our different educational philosophies in order to better showcase a physical and digital representation of our passion for all things learning.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Non-Fiction Text Features: Incorporating the Digital

There is so much to be gained from walking through the corridors of your school and popping in to see what classes are doing.

This morning, I happened to pop into Kim Duffy's Grade 3 class and discovered a really neat learning experience the class was exploring on Non-Fiction Text Features in digital books.

Kim had set up a Google Doc for her kids with different text features noted on the side. Students were to log onto MyOn (an online book library), and read Non-Fiction texts. They were to take a screenshot of each feature outlined in the table (see below). She had a column for the screenshots, and a column for students to explain why the feature is used.

See example of a student's work below:

Students now have a document with visual examples that they can refer back to when they create their own Non-Fiction books later on. We know that incorporating visuals helps students with retention of key information, and the fact that they actively searched for the examples of the text features will also be of benefit.

A few doors down, Daniel Withington was also looking at features of Non-Fiction text. It was great to see Grade 3 students identifying features of digital text as well, including hyperlinks, videos and search options. When Daniel's students think about writing Non-Fiction text, they will think more broadly about the features they need to consider as authors because of this introduction.

It is wonderful to see teachers like Kim and Daniel naturally incorporate digital text as a part of their regular literacy lessons.

This reminds me of the arguments for teaching Digital Reading set forth in Kristin Ziemke's insightful blog post, Yes And... Thoughts on Print Versus Digital Reading. Kristin asks teachers to consider their own teaching practice:

 "Take a moment to reflect:
How many minilessons have you taught this year that guide students to become effective digital readers?
Do you have anchor charts or scaffolds in place that will support them as they attempt to read digitally with independence?
Have you provided ample time for them to read diverse genres or self-select their onscreen reading material?" 
It is a privilege to work with teachers who can answer these questions with confidence.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Recapping The Learning Spaces Book Club Meeting 1

Our first three texts

Getting spaced out:

We started this journey by hosting consultant Maija Ruokanen (revisit her teachings in this episode of podcast UWCLearn). The DLCs then fanned those fuels as our in house #uwclearn spacebusters. Most recently a cohort of teachers across the college met last Friday to talk about our very first read for the Learning Spaces Book Club.

We started by looking at these questions in school specific teams:

The book club will meet again next August.  In the meantime, we will continue to curate resources on this Flipboard.

What ideas will we return to?

Check out this visual summary (using Canva's infographic-maker tool) of our conversations:

Do you have thoughts on any of our questions?

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

The Networked Teacher-Learner

What could your portfolio do for your learning?

Starting this May, join a cohort of teachers on campus looking to complete a five-month challenge.
The challenge will ask you to launch and share a portfolio (with the support of your DLCs), and to compose and share one post per month from May until September.

In small teams, you will receive feedback from your peers, and you will be asked to respond to others. What can we learn from one another? Can networking our inquiry build connections across our community and assist in better research curation?

You will have a great deal of choice from a month menu of post provocations. Preview the menu for May here.

Wondering why educators have found portfolio curation a useful endeavor?

Check out this post from George Couros.

What I did not expect though, was how much my own learning would grow.  Writing a blog for me is now something that I feel is necessary for an educator, as it gives me the opportunity to not only reflect on my practice, but also collaborate with others in a more in depth way then sites like Twitter can provide.  I also have had a major shift in my own thinking as I am less focused on the technical aspects of a blog, but the learning implications this type of writing can have on educators and students.-George Couros

If you'd like help getting set up with your portfolio, please ask a DLC.

Sign up for our five-month challenge here.
Anticipate a time requirement of 50-60 minutes per month (includes posting, reading, and commenting).

Digital Bytes - 24th April, 2017

A Beginner’s Guide to Creating Shareable Infographics

Infographics help us understand complicated data sets and simplify the complex.

With outstanding examples and easy-to-understand text, this guide for beginners  will help you learn about what makes a good infographic, the various types of infographics and steps to create a powerful infographic.
Teaching Digital Citizenship with Seesaw

A lot of the behaviours we want our students to exhibit in regards to digital citizenship can be taught in Seesaw.

Teacher Heather Marrs explains in her post, “Don’t Teach Digital Citizenship - Embed it!” how she uses Seesaw to teach her help her students learn how they can interact in a digital environment.
Five Ways Humor Boosts Creative Thinking and Problem-Solving in the Classroom

John Spencer raises some great points in support of humour and fun in the classroom, particularly as a model of creativity and divergent thinking for our students. Read about the Five Ways Humor Boosts Creative Thinking and Problem-Solving in the Classroom to get your week off to a great start!

Friday, 21 April 2017

Building Better Infographics: Friendly Friday Advice

Interested in building better infographics with your students?

Here's a quick guide to the four essential elements to include in any infographic:

1. The Wireframe:

Structure is key.  Best practice is to map out your infographic before you move to any digital tools.  What structure will work best for the story you want your infographic to tell?

2. Put the info into infographic:

Do your research, be sure to attribute key stats.  Collate your research before heading into the design phase.

3. Call and response

A good infographic is working with a great question.  Starting with the why is another key step for effective infographic curation.

4. Find your flow

Is it easy to navigate through your infographic?

 How do I put those elements into action?

Luckily, our digital tools have come a long way in recent years.  Here is a list of free tools making it very straightforward to embrace those four essentials:

Get inspired

Here are a few of my favorite infographic artists:
Check out his fantastic work here

Check out his fantastic work here

Check out one of his featured infographics in this collection 

To learn more about infographic production, design, and analysis, contact your DLC today.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Digital Bytes - 17th April 2017


This new app has the potential to be the app of the year in education. If you haven’t already downloaded it, do it now.

It is incredibly easy to use and perfect for students who want to create a quick video.

One of the best features is the ability to to speak and the app automatically creates the text in real time. You can also add filters to your video and easily share it.


This is beyond amazing. Autodraw from Google is something you just need to try to believe.

Start to draw anything and Autodraw will recognize what you are drawing and give you options. Draw a house and you will see options for buildings pop up. How might you use this with your students? So many possibilities!

10 Apps for Creating Poetry on an iPad

Even though there are a number of apps that you may not have heard of, you can always use the ideas presented with apps you already have.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Introducing the Spacebusters

Looking to revamp your learning space?

If you've been following our Flipboard of resources, or you are just curious about having a fresh look at your classroom, this post is for you. Classroom redesign is not something you need to 'go alone.' What if we saw your space as an opportunity to learn together?

"Teamwork" via Flick taken by Quinn Dombrowski

What does a collaborative classroom makeover involve?

Click here to learn about our process, and listen to this podcast to push your thinking. Consult a coach today to start your audit. DLCs love to think about the ways our digital and physical spaces can come together.  We'd love to think about that with you, so leave a comment here if you'd like us to schedule an appointment to spacebust with you.
"Stay puft marshmellow man" via Flickr by clement127

Monday, 27 March 2017

The No-Stress Way to Remove Backgrounds from Images

I love what Photoshop can do with removing backgrounds from images, but it is complicated to use, and not available on the iPad. I wanted something that even our youngest students could use to level-up the quality of their Book Creator books.

Thankfully, my colleague Dave Caleb discovered the iPad app Photoshop Mix. This incredibly easy-to-use app makes removing backgrounds from images a breeze.

Photoshop Mix requires users to create an Adobe ID, so for our under 13s, we use a class or grade level account to log in. You only need to log in once, then the app remembers your details.

Below is a tutorial which shows you how easy it is to remove backgrounds using Photoshop Mix, and add the exported image into Book Creator, so you can make really professional looking books, in the style of DK Find Out.

Photoshop Mix for Removing the Background of Images from UWC South East Asia on Vimeo.

You can also use Photoshop Mix to blend images or change the opacity of an image - more features which would work well in combination with Book Creator.

Digital Bytes - 27th March, 2017

Digital Breakouts with Google Sites

Breakout EDU is a fantastic way for students to work together to solve a series of challenges. Many of our teachers and students have participated in Breakout and we have even created our own for specific units.
Tom Mullaney created a template so you can create your own digital breakout locks in Google slides. It a another excellent way to experience breakout. It a another excellent way to experience breakout.

Toontastic App

This fantastic free app from Google allows you to quickly and easily tell stories in a beautiful animated format. It is similar to Puppet Pals but so much better.
You can draw your own characters or choose from the many characters supplied with the app. The animation is incredible and users are even provided with a story structure to help them tell their story.


Reducing the number of clicks it takes to complete a task is the aim of the app Workflow, which Apple acquired a week ago and subsequently made free.

This blog post shows you some of the ways you can use this app to be more productive in your day.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

If you only download one book from the iBook Store this year...

It should be THIS ONE.

The Joy of Professional Learning is an absolute goldmine.

The free to download text comes with 16 ideas for tailoring learning experiences depending on the time and space you have.  The text has been compiled by Apple Distinguished Educators like Kurt Klynen, and Cheryl Davis amongst many others.

The last chapter curates follow up resources, like this link to podcasts which focus on professional development.

The book is an excellent resource not only for teachers teaching teachers, but their ideas can also be adapted to use at any grade level.  

Free to use courtesy of Pexels

Looking for other amazing free to download resources?

Check out a few of our in-house authored texts, like Keri-Lee Beasley's great read on Design Secrets or Dave Caleb's gorgeous look at photography skill sets for any photog. 

Interested in curating your own text using iBook Author? 

See a coach today to talk about how.

Free to use Courtesy of Pexels