The Joy of ISTE – The Joy of Learning

Thousands of kilometres and many hours away from San Diego and ISTE 2012 I am buoyed and excited by the tweets and blog posts that are coming thick and fast from the USA.

From feeling very envious and slightly jealous of the social happenings and get-togethers that are being shared, I am now inspired by watching the learning that is taking place by the attendees:

ideas – tweeted  from workshops

discovery – of personal connections to these ideas

joy –  when realising the relevance of the ideas

plans – to try the ideas back home

sharing –  the discovery with others via twitter and blogs

elaborating  – on the first idea

collaborating – and hooking up with others who are sharing the idea

curiosity – about where the idea has come from

looking up – researching some background

thinking – how the new idea fits with what you do

buzzing –  with excitement

possibilities – bouncing around in your head

new ideas

What an authentic and wonderful snapshot of learning taking place.

Thoughts, theories and practices being shaped and grown in a positive and supportive atmosphere of “it is possible”.

I can only imagine the opportunities and experiences that await classrooms when the attendees return.

Thank you to everyone who has tweeted and blogged ISTE 2012 into my life this past week or so.


Image: #271 eLearning


Information Literacy

Here are some definitions of Information Literacy:

Langford (1998,p.59): information literacy is a type of literacy that has been transformed to work with the technologies of the time.

My comment: Literacy is active and changing and as the types, sources, reliability and access to information change and develop through the use of the internet and web2.0 applications,  students must be able to make sense of this information.

Abilock (2004, p. 1): information literacy is a transformational process where information is taken and used.

My comment:  This is an active sort of definition – information literacy is a process or strategy to work with information in a purposeful way.

Herring & Tartar (2006, p. 3): list of things information literate students will be able to do. 

 My comment: Add the idea of reflecting on the way the information was used to serve an identified purpose.


All of the authors added extra dimensions and  aspects to my understandings of information literacy.

Langford’s references to information literacy complementing technology is very relevant as students are dealing with many types of information in many formats and from varied sources. They need strategies and skills in identifying, deciphering and evaluating the information they come into contact with.

Abilock’s idea of using information for personal, social and global purposes support both constructivist and connectivist thinking where students are learning for an authentic purpose and audience.

Herring & Tartar identify actions that students are able to do with information in a step by step manner.

It seems to me that information literacy is a process to help students “help themselves” learn. So much about learning is not just content related facts. Students need to be able to collect, sort and use information in many ways to make meaning from what they read, view and hear. Information literacy is both a process and strategies to help them do this.


Herring, J. and Tartar, A. (2006). Progress in developing information literacy in a secondary school using the PLUS model. School Libraries in View, 23, 23-27


Reality is Broken?


Currently reading Jane McGonigal‘s book Reality is Broken: Why Games Make us Better and How They Can Change the World and am amazed at how it mirrors the work I have been doing recently in Assessment for Learning.

Areas of commonality for both games and assessment for learning are:

Control – gamer/student is at the centre of the experience

Rules – gamer/student operates in a system where there are rules to follow/obey

Goals – gamer/student needs clear goals and actionable steps to reach those goals/targets

Feedback – positive feedback mirrors back to gamer/student what they’ve accomplished and is both qualitative and quantitative

Visible results – gamer/student needs & wants to see results directly, immediately and as vividly as possible

Is this why the Assessment for Learning work has resonated so strongly with me?


Is this why games based learning has held my attention for so long as the way forward?

Probably Obviously a combination of both!

Inspire Innovate 2010: Extras You Asked For :-)

Here are the extra planning and programming bits and pieces that you asked for in the workshop yesterday:

Planning Proformas/ Grids

Backward Mapping Proforma

Blooms MI Matrix

My wiiMusic Worksheets

wiiMusic booklet 1

wiiMusic booklet 2


Final Task Rubric  

My wiiSports Tennis Plan

Tennis Skills + Planning Sheet  

I hope that these  sheets help guide you in  planning and using games consoles in your classroom.  

Please link back here so we can all see what you have tried in your classroom.

Who says that learning is all not all fun and games????

P3240567    P3240566  P3240565  P3240562

If you need/want any other info or help or ideas please just leave a comment here 🙂

Inspire Innovate 2010


  1. Games are a shared experience.
  2. Games build community  – they are played socially at school.
  3. Meaning is constructed as a group – individuals contribute to group understandings.
  4. Language is played with – used in different ways to make different meanings.
  5. Language becomes more visible through a game – it has shared context, shared understandings and shared meanings.
  6. The experience, and the consequent language, is like “playdough” – it can be added to, moulded, pulled apart, re-arranged, viewed, discussed, evaluated, improved; first as a group, then individually; first orally and then written.
  7. Immersion in the experience is child-centred, lots of time is spent on student initiated and led exploration of the game and/ or the game world. Students become part of the experience: In the game directly: Participating in the game – manipulating the characters and events – “living the game”: As a springboard for real life, authentic learning.
  8. Learning outcomes are planned in detail – shared explicitly with students to support meta-language and deep knowledge.
  9. Learning indicators are specific and focused: one scene or setting, one character or one object.





Endless Oceans – Tom Barrett



Cooking Mama LTS Consolarium

Nintendogs – LTS Consolarium

Samba De Amigo – LTS Consolarium


  • Authentic, real world tasks
  • Rich tasks
  • Cross-curricula
  • Creative – many ways to fulfill the assessment
  • On and off the computer
  • Expands across KLAs
  • Whole class input
  • Contract work



Dolphin Island HSIE, S&T

wiiSports Maths – Tom Barrett

Drawn to Life English – Writing

Brain Training & Maths Training – LTS Consolarium


  • More focused on one KLA area
  • Individual, pairs, trios, smaller groups


Peter Richardson has a site that features a collaborative list of wii games and associated Year levels and activity focus.




Start with learning outcomes

Identify a game to support intended outcomes

Mind map, backward map, Blooms/Multiple Intelligences matrix.

Real world, authentic tasks.

Play is Vital



TED Talk: “Why play is vital – no matter your age” presented by Dr Stuart Brown from the National Institute for Play in New York.

Dr Brown’s research indicates that there is a strong correlation between success and playful activity. Play is an altered state, and it’s this state that allows us to explore the possible.

Play changes or overrides:

  •       Nature
  •       Behaviour
  •       Outcomes

Types of play as identified by Dr Brown:

Body play – spontaneous desire to escape gravity – playing for play’s sake – no purpose but the joy of play

Object play – play is practical and need curiosity and exploration with our hands to help solve problems

Social play – if you want to belong

Rough and tumble play – learning medium for all, be chaotic and develop emotional regulation

Spectator play

Ritual play

Imaginative play — Internal narrative story

Solo play

Our own play history is unique and personal, and can be a transforming force.

Importance of play to creative thinking leading from Mihaley Csikszentmihalyi’s idea of

FLOW = fully immersed in what they are doing

= energised focus

= full involvement

= success in the process


What has this to do with learning and learning using games?

It reaffirms the “permission to play” idea I was interested in exploring by adding to this idea in these ways:

  •       Play is a biological human need.
  •       Play releases the passion within us.
  •       Play enables humans to form trusting relationships.
  •       Play enables humans to safely explore, to be curious, to connect, and to learn.
  •       Play helps contextual memory of events, places, and people.
  •       Play empowers humans, and enriches life experiences.
  •       Play is a freedom and an opportunity.


Here is the talk – 26 minutes in total.


Image: ‘Play with the Earth‘

21st Century Pedagogy Conference 2009 #1


21st Century Pedagogy Conference 2009

The “c” Generation

connect, communicate, collaborate, create

Innovations in ICT Practical Workshop: 

Quality Tools and Quality Teaching in a Quality Learning Environment

Here’s the story plan for today:  welcome to my session on using exciting tools with your students to explore, communicate and create together in your classrooms.



Using the NSW Quality Teaching Framework, the three dimensions of pedagogy that underpin the teaching and learning that occurs in classrooms are:

Quality Learning Environment:  refers to pedagogy that creates classrooms where students and teachers work productively in an environment clearly focused on learning. Such pedagogy sets high and explicit expectations and develops positive relationships between teachers and students and among students.


Significance:  refers to pedagogy that helps make learning meaningful and important to students. Such pedagogy draws clear connections with student’s prior knowledge and identities, with contexts outside of the classroom, and with multiple ways of knowing or cultural perspectives.


Intellectual Quality:  refers to pedagogy focuses on producing deep understanding of important concepts, skills,and ideas. Such pedagogy treats knowldege as something that requires active construction and requires students to engage in higher-order thinking and to communicate substantively about what they are learning.

From: NSW Department of Education and Traing, Professional  Learning and Leadership Development.

These are the basics that we are starting and finishing with today – it is the teaching that allows our students to connect, to communicate, to collaborate and to create. It is the quality of the teaching, the quality of the relationships, and the quality of the communication that will make the difference. Technology is the tool that can help us to help our students. It’s the “teach” not the tools that make the difference.


Sort It Out


G’Day to a Good Day!

Here is a “lost” blog post that I wrote after taking part in a full day Tim Rylands workshop (last month in Kent, UK)

An outline of the workshop is available on Tim’s site, here, and the combined thoughts and reactions of the day can also be found, here, written by Gail and myself.

The day really sparked my thinking – especially in regards to the framework I am piecing together ­- using computer games creatively to enhance and encourage student writing.

Two ideas that I keep coming back to are giving students

1.    permission to wonder


2.    permission to play.


Permission to wonder, to  share your thinking, to brainstorm, to develop creative ideas, silly ideas, the freedom to pose possibilities and run with them.

Too often this step is non-existent in the writing we do in our classrooms, in our haste to get to the written text, the conventions and the punctuation we dismiss this gathering and sorting of ideas – thus depriving our students of a wealth of interesting and exciting possibilities that they can choose to use in their writing.

Giving students the permission to play also supports student language acquisition by making the collection of ideas, words, phrases and sentences

·      physical,

·      active,

·      kineastheic,

·      REAL.

This activity and movement, I‘ve noticed, is vital in my school and class setting, so I was interested to see Tim employing techniques and strategies that got the students moving.

The students gained much from physically linking movement with words – I wonder if this could be connected to “muscle memory” that dancers use????

Thanks Tim for a fantastic day – you are still sparking my thinking and learning – even from this distance. Amazing 🙂



Fireside Chat with John Johnston

The best laid plans of a bracing walk through the wilds of Scotland with John were overthrown by the weather, and so we spent a great few hours in the cosy surrounds of the elegant lounge room at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel (in the west central Highlands of Argyll).

We chatted our way through most of the ills facing education today, planned and plotted how to fix the world and made our way back to what we were all up to and planning for the next year or so.

In The World According to Three Educators by a Fire, this is what we came up with:

Know your goals as you set out.

Take a steady approach, but always with your goals in mind.

Be prepared for serendipitous events, embrace them, use them and learn from them.

Allow students to lead their learning – support, encourage and celebrate learning as it happens.

Need to backward plan at times to enable a more open and exploratory type of learning to take place.


Thanks John, with your knowledge and understanding of students, learning and ICT I know you will continue to make a positive impact on learning in North Lanarkshire schools.