Paperless Classrooms – Can it be done?

Earlier today I was reading a list of ways to be ‘green’ in the classroom. One of these mentioned using email to send students worksheets or information, rather than print outs. While considering this, I decided to see if this could go a step further. It turns out, it can!

Students can use a program such as Onenote or Evernote to create a practically paperless environment. These are great tools which create notebooks that students can embed their notes images, webpages and tables in, as well as many other items. Students can take photos of work completed on dry erase boards and embed them into their  notebook, or add images drawn in paint or directly into the program to illustrate mathematics concepts or formulas.

Students could also create ‘research journals’ and attach their notes, research and completed work into the notebook, while attaching links to the research for future access.

I can think of literally dozens more ideas for this tool and tools like it, and it’s an idea I’m very excited to integrate into my own classroom in the future. While classrooms may not become completely paperless, using this approach is sure to cut down on excessive paper while allow students to create more dynamic records of their work, research and ideas.

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QR Codes

I’m always on the look out for interesting new ways to incorporate ICTs into the classroom, so I was very excited to learn of this one. Introducing the Quick Response or QR code – you might have seen them on books or other products before. They look something like the above image.

Basically, they can be scanned through an app on an iPad or similar device, and automatically open a link specific to that QR code. A more in-depth explanation can be found here.

Their educational uses are limitless. Teachers can create an information treasure hunts with each QR code giving a clue to finding the next one and information about the topic,or add a way to find out more information about a given topic quickly. In fact, this website has a list of 40 ways to use QR codes in the classroom.
I’m very excited to try using these codes on my next prac!

Collaboration across the World

Thanks to the internet, communication with others around the world is much faster and far more convenient than in previous years. Teachers all around the world are taking advantage of this, and are making connections with other teachers and classes all around the world. The only equipment required is a computer, webcam and a microphone.The opportunities that this presents are numerous – students can share ideas, collaborate on projects and learn about other cultures without ever leaving the classroom. You can read more about some ways that the internet can be utilised in this way here.

Another use for this technology is for virtual excursions. The Sydney Living Museums offer excursions to schools from all over the country.

As time goes on, more and more uses for this technology are sure to emerge.

Are all ICTs okay for schools?

This evening, I read a post by my fellow student on their blog Whiteboard Whispers, which talked about mobile phones in the classroom. 

It got me thinking about whether there are some ICTs that should be kept out of the classroom. For example, mobile phones have long been banned from many classrooms, but recently some teachers have begun using them as educational tools.

Conversely, iPads have been heralded as great educational tools, but they are all too easy to be misused and used as activities for free time, rather than as learning tools.

In my opinion, all ICTs have the potential to be an excellent teaching tool, provided they are used in the correct manner, and all ICTs have to potential to be simple diversions or ‘fun’ activities for free time in the classroom.

SMARTboards in Education

Walk into any classroom in Australia and you’ll find many things in common. Desks, chairs and whiteboards can be found in every classroom, along with the usual pens and paper. In the centre of every room, you can usually find a SMARTboard, an interactive whiteboard which connects to a computer and allows students to interact with the content via a touch screen interface. But sadly, in many classroom this valuable resource is underused. SMARTboards are an incredibly useful tool that can change the way that information is presented to our students.

But how precisely can they be used?

This website recommends using SMARTboards to take notes, brainstorm, play educational games and display data of many kinds – visuals, audio, videos and text to name a few. Another website uses the boards to save student work without taking up space, create bright and visual displays, research on the internet in a way that the whole class can participate, and to ‘flip’ the classroom, an innovative teaching technique which involves the teacher creating a digital ‘lesson’ where learners review the lesson at home, before coming to school and working on problems and practical tasks relating to the lesson.

I personally have used SMARTboards to compile student ideas, create interactive powerpoints, display videos, and create stories that have input from the whole class.

There are many other ways to use these boards in the classroom, and with a little creativity and ingenuity can become a essential part of any classroom.

Professional Learning Board. (n.d.) Using smart boards in the classroom. Retrieved 20 March 2015 from https://k12teacherstaffdevelopment.com/tlb/using-smart-boards-in-the-classroom/

Concordia Online Education. (2013). Teacher’s Guide: How to use the smart board in the clashttp://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/educator-tips/teacher-s-guide-how-to-use-a-smartboard-in-the-classroom/sroom. Retrieved 20 March 2015 from

Using the TEST Framework

During this week’s content, we looked at the TEST framework, and how it can be applied to our studies. You can read about the TEST framework at this website.

Problem: How can I keep up with all of the work for this course, and at the same time keep up to date with my other subjects?

Task: I need to decide on an effective study schedule, and prioritise university over other things that may take my time, but that might not be as important, and maintain my motivation.

Environment: I study both at home, and at the Springfield campus of USQ. At home, I usually study in the lounge room, with the TV on, which can sometimes be a distraction and sometimes helps me stay focussed, depending on the task. On occasion, I will also be studying at the Ipswich campus library. Both libraries have the issue of noise from other students, which can make it difficult for me to study.

Skills: I’m confident in the use of ICT, so I don’t have as large a learning curve this semester as some of my peers, however there are still a lot of challenges for me. I have good time management when I need to, so this will help me finish all of my work.

Tools: I have a good knowledge of many ICT tools which will help me achieve my goals. Websites such as Twitter, Diigo and Feedly are all extremely useful to me. Additionally, timetable websites will be helpful for me to develop a functional study plan.

Hopefully the TEST framework will be helpful to keep me on track for this semester!