Some edtech tools

Our staff members shared the following

  • Write About This ( – This is an excellent app to encourage writing in reluctant writers. Students can often verbalise ideas that result from a writing prompt really well but when they have to write the ideas down, they are unable to do so. With Write About This they can make an audio recording of these ideas first and then type it out while they listen to what they have said. Teachers has seen an immediate improvement in the quantity and quality of students’ writing.
  • It now works in New Zealand! Go to and sign in with your GAFE ID ( if prompted. You will be offered a choice of using it as a teacher or a student. If you sign in as a teacher, you can create your own Google Classrooms. If you sign in as a student, you will be prompted to enter the class code. The teacher needs to give the class code to students to populate their classroom. For a really great introduction to Google Classroom, please visit
  • Google Classroom adds a dynamic back channel to your classroom and (I think) this is especially helpful in modern learning environments. It has great potential to enable your students to own their learning.
  • Another great feature is an online submission box for assignments – very similar to the ‘dropbox’ in many learning management systems. This has been one of the major missing components in the GAFE classroom and I think most teachers will welcome this facility.
  • Elim Christian College uses Teacher Dashboard (, a classroom management tool for GAFE, that enables you to have a peek into students’ online behaviour in the blended (online) classroom. Google Classroom and Teacher Dashboard compliment each other really well and I think the combination of the two tools will enable teachers to run an effective blended learning environment – the (almost) perfect combination of a teacher-directed and student-centred classroom as recommended by Prof Hattie in his Visible Learning research.

The philosophy behind our use of technology

How intentional are we about transforming the learning in our classrooms with the technology that is now available to the teaching profession? The JC staff took some time in their teams to evaluate how they have been using technology (devices, apps, etc) in their curriculum, trying to decide whether the technology has been used in a substitutional or transformational manner. This has proven to be a really helpful exercise and I believe it will help us transform our pedagogy in a meaningful way. As a reminder, here is an explanation of the SAMR model that I have found on Twitter.



Teaching with Google Classroom – first impressions

This morning there was an email in my Inbox telling me that I have been invited to take Google Classroom for a test drive … exciting, eh? Here are some first impressions.

Setting up a class is relatively straightforward. After I signed in, I was guided through the intuitive process of setting up my first class. You first need to give your class a name and you can also define it even more by adding information about the section you are teaching.

Create a class

The class is then created for you and you are greeted with the Google Classroom interface, i.e.


Google Classroom comes with a number of cool templates that is easy to change by clicking on Change Photo (bottom right of the header image).

I think the user interface is quite intuitive with the classic ‘hamburger’ in the top left taking you to a screen that shows all of your classes or gives you the ability to create a new class. ‘Stream’ is the ‘social’ part of your course and contains all of your class activity (assignments, announcements, etc) and ‘Students’ gives you the ability to add, remove or email your students (as long as you have Google Mail activated).

It is easy to add new assignments and it is simple to add all of your resources to an assignment since Classroom integrates tightly with Google Drive. You can set a due date for an assignment and upcoming assignments are easy to see at the top of the sidebar on the left.

I team teach Technology in a modern learning space with @stevevoisey and @philippaisom. We have been able to use ‘Stream’ with great success in our class today, i.e. posting teaching tips and assignment information for all students as the lesson progressed. Students had the ‘Stream’ open in their browser (most of our students have tablets).

Probably one of the most exciting features of Google Classroom is the ability of students to ‘Turn In’ assignments. In typical Learning Management System fashion, students are not able to change what they have submitted after they have turned it in, even if it is a Google Docs / Sheets / Slides document. Classroom accomplishes this by changing the students’ submission to ‘Read Only’ for them and transferring editing rights to you as teacher. But wait, there is more! After you, the teacher, has graded the assignment, you can ‘Return’ it to your students. This time you lose your editing rights and the students regain their ability to edit their documents – a great feature for a feedback and revision cycle. It also mimics what usually happens in a classroom anyway – very exciting!


Will try to keep you updated on what I discover. To lifelong learning!

Cross post from

Christian education and change

Christian education and change

Christian educators are people who understand and embrace change, we are people that constantly evaluate and critique our practice because it is a fundamental part of our worldview, i.e. we never arrive while here on Earth since God is constantly working out His salvation in us, perfecting our relationship with Him by teaching us holy worship that brings glory to God.

If you are a Christ-follower and a teacher, let’s dialogue about this.

To lifelong learning!

Blogger app for iOS

iTunes Store

One of the teachers from Year 3 and 4 at Elim Christian College, Emily, introduced the Blogger app for iOS to me just now. They are thinking of using it as a tool to showcase students’ learning. Initially the team was thinking of using Google Sites for this purpose, but posting to Google Sites isn’t as simple and intuitive as using the Blogger app – especially when most of the students in the class have iPads.

Abdul Chohan, the director of Essa Academy, talks about educational technology needing to be simple and reliable. This tool definitely fits the bill. The app itself has a simple user interface that is intuitive to use, with little distractions – ideal for a year 3 and 4 class.

New post in Blogger app

Writing a post

Can you think of more ways to use this tool? Please comment.

To lifelong learning!

Cross post from