In my previous posts ‘Wellbeing and iPad’, we explored the significance of student wellbeing in the classroom and how technology, particularly the iPad, can play a transformative role in nurturing student wellness. Today, we dive deeper into the topic, introducing “My Wellbeing Toolkit,” a fun and creative approach to teaching self-care, emotional intelligence, building relationships, and decision making using Pages, Keynote, GarageBand and Freeform.
Student wellbeing is a critical aspect of their holistic development. When students feel mentally and emotionally supported, they are better equipped to navigate the challenges they face both inside and outside the classroom. By fostering a positive environment that promotes wellbeing, educators can empower students to thrive academically, emotionally, and socially.
“My Wellbeing Toolkit” is a comprehensive program designed to engage students in exploring four essential areas of wellbeing: self-care, managing emotions, building relationships, and making responsible decisions. Leveraging the power of the iPad, students can embark on a creative journey of self-discovery and personal growth.
With iPad at their creative disposal, students can explore a range of interactive activities to enhance their wellbeing. They can unleash their creativity by creating animations, expressing their emotions visually, and gaining a deeper understanding of different perspectives. They create their own mindful sound board, that promote relaxation and self-reflection. Engaging with creative conversation cards (download cards here) they foster meaningful discussions, empathy, and stronger connections with peers. And finally, by utilising Freeform, students can organise their thoughts, analyse the pros, cons and unknowns, to make more informed decisions.
As students progress through each area of the “My Wellbeing Toolkit,” they earn digital GIF badges, symbolising their achievements and celebrating their growth in self-care, emotional management, relationship-building, and responsible decision-making. These GIFs are downloadable below for you to Airdrop directly to students.
I hope you are able to use, adapt and enjoy this resource! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.
Harmony Day 2023 in Australia marks an annual observance in Australia that is celebrated on March 21st. It is a day dedicated to promoting and celebrating cultural diversity, inclusiveness, and respect for all people, regardless of their background, ethnicity, or beliefs. The aim of Harmony Day is to encourage Australians to embrace their differences, foster mutual understanding and respect, and promote a sense of belonging for everyone in the community.
For younger learners engaging in understanding and celebrating diversity it can be a difficult task. Using the iPad can engage younger students in the deeper understanding that we are all different and this an be celebrated.
Using Keynote, students can understand about their own diversity by making an animated GIF of different colours that represent them. The below template can be used to guide students through this lesson, or simply used as an example.
Through the process of creating a personal animated GIF using Keynote on an iPad, students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the significance of cultural diversity and respect for others, as well as the importance of promoting inclusivity and harmony within their community.
To get started:
Step 1: Take a photo of yourself / use a Memoji
Step 2: Trace over the image with an Apple Pencil or your finger
Step 3: Delete the background image
Step 4: Fill colour the image with colours that represent you ( tip – use the fill tool to do this quickly )
Step 5: Duplicate and repeat Steps 4 and 5 as many times as you like.
Step 6: Export as animated GIF (remember to select the side range 😉)
Step 7: Share with your classmates, discussing respect and diversity of others GIFs.
When it comes to mental health we often forget to allow students opportunities to promote and talk about positive approaches to promote a healthy mind. There are a number of resources from The Resilience Project, Beyond Blue and The Kids Helpline that are students are able to use and equip themselves with the right skills to promote positive mental health.
This lesson focuses on the use of GarageBand to do just that – promote positive mental health. This is achieved by students creating their own sounds and music, for their very own podcast they can share with their peers.
Lesson Objective: Students will be able to promote positive mental health through mindfulness, physical activity, and positive relationships.
App: GarageBand (and Clips)
Using the GarageBand app, students will work in small groups to create backing music and a podcast that promotes positive mental health.
Students will first brainstorm ideas for sounds and instruments that they can use to create a positive and uplifting atmosphere.
Students will then use the GarageBand app and Live Loops to record different sounds and instruments and layer them together to create their backing music.
Students will be encouraged to experiment with different sounds and instruments, and to add in their own recordings of nature sounds or other elements that they feel would contribute to the overall atmosphere of their soundscape.
They will then record their podcast and use some simple features like ‘automation’ to fade their backing music in and out over their voice. They can use their knowledge from the previous lessons, or this could be an entire literacy focus, depending on how polished you want this.
Tip when recording – merge soundscapes tracks and mute while recording. You can then use the ‘automation’ feature (link below) to fade in and out the backing music.
Students will then use Clips to create a cover image for their podcast. They will export their audio podcast from GarageBand and import into Clips.
They can then present their completed podcast to the class and discuss how they promote positive mental health. The class will reflect on how each sound and instrument made them feel as well as the useful information content shared..
This lesson empowers students to explore practical ways to build resilience and where to find support in times of need. It leverages Apple’s new app Freeform which allows students to collaborate, explore and build their own knowledge bank. There are a number of resources from The Resilience Project, Beyond Blue and The Kids Helpline which students will familiarise themselves with in order to gain a greater understanding of mental health.
Lesson Objective: Students will be able to build resilience and identify the signs and symptoms of mental health problems and where to seek support.
Using the Freeform app, students will collaborate (via iCloud) on a shared board to explore the resources. At this point, the teacher can scaffold the learning and resources needed through the template below.
Students can add images, text, recordings, files and much more to provide an overview of mental health. I have provided 4 key areas, Positive Thinking, Self Care, Problem Solving and Seeking Support as subheadings for the teacher to adapt as needed for their students and context.
There are a number of prompts on the Freeform board to support discussion and research around resilience and mental health support services.
Students will then use the collaborative board to jigsaw their ideas with their peers and create their own Freeform board based on their new learning. Encourage them to use elements from the template.
Freeform iCloud Link – open on your iPad, Mac or iPhone and click on the dropdown menu from the title and duplicate to make a copy.
This lesson explores students being aware of the feelings and emotions of others – empathy. They will use Clips to recreate common scenarios to see identify how others are feeling and ways to support their emotions.
Below are a set of scenario cards that match this lesson, feel free to use if you wish, as well as a clips project file for download to save some time in the classroom.
Lesson Objective: Students will be able to understand and respond to the emotions, thoughts, and needs of others.
Using the Clips app, students will work in small groups (to assist with recording) to create a short video that demonstrates a scenario where empathy is needed.
Students will act out the scenario, and then record a short video using the Clips app. As a class you can come up with some sample scenarios or there are some created for you below in the resource section.
Students will then use the Clips app to add captions and speech bubbles to the video to show how they are responding to the emotions and needs of the other person in the scenario. Tip – they can use ‘Live Captions’ to narrate over their video if they prefer too, this might be easier to with sound and recording.
Students will then present their videos to the class and discuss how they showed empathy in their chosen scenario.
Now students have completed this task, they can utilise Clips in a range of learning areas, it is great for capturing short sequences of learning, from lab experiments, recording voices, making simple podcasts and much more.
This lesson is designed to explore students’ emotions and how to regulate these positive and sometimes negative feelings. This also provides a great insight into a child’s mind and what makes them tick, allowing you as the teacher to know more about their emotional wellbeing too!
Throughout this lesson they will learn some cross-transferable skills using Keynote on the iPad that can be used in other learning areas.
Lesson Objective: Students will be able to identify and label their emotions and use coping strategies to regulate them.
Using the Keynote app, students will create a visual representation of their emotions by creating a mood board. Each student will choose a set of emojis that represent different emotions they may experience and add them to slide 3 in Keynote template.
Students will then add captions, or recordings to each image, labelling the emotions they represent.
Students will then copy all emojis and paste onto the next slide in Keynote where they will list different coping strategies they can use to regulate their emotions. Encourage students to use the inbuilt features of Keynote, drawing tool, shape library etc.
Students will then present their mood board to the class and share some of their coping strategies.
Use this template or simply create your own. This covers a number of basic Keynote features; recording voice, use of shapes, text boxes and you can even export this as a movie for collating student’s mood boards.
As always if you would like any help with this or anything else digital technology, please reach out. I’d love to hear how you have used this in your classroom.
I love sharing creative ideas that support teachers in using iPad in their classrooms. More recently, I’ve been working with schools who mention they don’t have much time to learn new skills on iPad with their students. The struggle to find time that is not assessment based to teach independent skills on iPad, therefore lack the integration of these digital literacy skills across the curriculum.
Student wellbeing is as important now as it’s ever been and often digital technology is seen detrimental to this. To me this is unfortunate because technology has the ability to really transform the way we learn things, and engage with new content and ideas. This is the reason I have created these four resources, that not only focus on student wellbeing, but also develop digital literacy skills for teachers to use in other curriculum areas. Here’s the a brief overview of the four lessons:
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly becoming a hot topic in today’s classrooms. I have spent the past few weeks exploring arguably the most talked about AI program in history, ChatGPT. However, with the rise of ChatGPT, AI in education has been around for some time already and more importantly already shapes our lives as we know them. Now, with recent advances in technology, it’s more important than ever for students to understand the implications and applications of AI. However, as educators, it’s also crucial that we understand the potential biases and ethical dilemmas that come with using AI in our classrooms. Let’s explore some of the advantages and challenges of teaching AI in the primary classroom, as well as some fantastic resources that can help educators get started.
One of the main advantages of teaching AI in the primary classroom is that it helps students develop valuable 21st-century skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity. AI is not only a rapidly growing field, but it’s also an interdisciplinary one, with connections to Maths, Science, and Digital Technology and more. By teaching students about AI, we’re giving them the opportunity to learn about the future and think about how they can make a positive impact in the world.
That being said, one of the major challenges of teaching AI is dealing with biased data. As AI is only as good as the data it’s trained on, it’s crucial that we’re aware of the data that’s being used to train these models. Biased data can lead to unfair or discriminatory outcomes, and it’s important for educators to be aware of these potential biases and address them in the classroom. Take a moment to check out ‘How I’m fighting bias in algorithms“ by Joy Buolamwini.
In light of this, it’s crucial that we also teach students about ethical considerations when it comes to AI. Tools like the “Moral Machine” from MIT can be used to start discussions around the implications of self-driving cars and other AI-related ethical dilemmas.
Now that we’ve explored some of the advantages and challenges of teaching AI, let’s dive into some fantastic resources that can help educators get started.
First on the list is “Hello Ruby: Love Letters to Computers.” This resource is a child-friendly introduction to digital technology, with activities such as “reCAPTCHA Code” and “Build your Own Robot.” The Hello Ruby book series is a great resource for teaching all digital technology resources.
Another fun and interactive resource is “Google Quick Draw.” This game uses AI to predict your doodles based on previous data. It’s a great way to introduce students to the concept of machine learning.
For students who have been using Scratch, “Machine Learning for Kids” is a great resource to expand their knowledge of AI and coding. This tool allows you to create your own AI projects to recognize text, images, numbers, or sounds through machine learning.
“AI4K12” is a fantastic resource for teachers looking to better understand AI and ways to use it in their classrooms. It has a great mailing list of upcoming webinars and resources, as well as a plethora of online learning materials.
Another tool that can help educators incorporate AI in their classroom is “MIT Media Lab Scratch (AI Version).” This sandbox version of Scratch allows users to utilize elements of AI and ML, with preset AI extensions already preset. One of the favourite is using Teachable Machine to plugin to and create your own AI program.
Last but not least, “Google AI Experiments” is a Google initiative that has a collection of AI programs that are fun to play with and test the power of AI. A personal favorite of mine is the “Freddiemeter.”
In conclusion, teaching AI in the primary classroom can be a great way to give students the opportunity to learn about the future and think about how they can make a positive impact in the world. These are just the tip of the iceberg of AI tools, but be sure to check the age-restrictions and dangers of using these type of tools with younger learners. Many AI tools don’t have age filters and are recommended for 13+ or even 18+ users, so have fun and stay safe!
I am pleased to announce that I am now an authorised Apple Professional Learning Specialist (APLS). This unique and global community aims to provide ongoing support, guidance and mentorship to schools, educational leaders and of course teachers.
“Apple Professional Learning Specialists are lifelong educators who are uniquely qualified to help fellow educators understand the capabilities of Apple technology for learning and teaching. They use research-based instructional technology practices to help educators throughout the journey from skill acquisition to instructional practice innovation. Apple Professional Learning Specialists work with educators in their own schools and in the context of their own curriculum, which helps them build the confidence they need to integrate technology and pedagogy.” (Apple, 2017)
Being recognised as an effective trainer, facilitator and coach for education, and Apple products, is humbling and something I am extremely excited to bring to schools.
If you would like to chat about how we can begin or continue further your digital transformation journey with Apple technology, please reach out.
The term digital citizen has dramatically evolved in the past decade, and now students even as young as 5 are using online tools and software to communicate and collaborate online. In a technology reliant society where does this fit within our curriculum? Technology is advancing at exponential rates that most people, let alone educators, are struggling to keep up. So where does that leave us with teaching students about the appropriate use of technology? What does appropriate use mean? Whose job should it be to teach Digital Citizenship?
Too often we see misuse or inappropriate use of technology. Whether it is scrolling through your socials or catching up on the latest world news, oversharing, racist comments and the lack of understanding regarding personal security is clearly evident. I have found myself ‘block’ or ‘remove’ these so called oversharers on social media for inappropriate comments. But consider for a moment that many of these people have never been ‘taught’ what it means to be a digital citizen and the responsibility that comes with that. So where does this leave us with students in our classrooms?
DigCit shouldn’t be taught in isolation
The most common mistake is that DigCit is taught as that once off lesson or unit at the beginning of the year, if taught at all. This is like setting classroom rules on day 1 and completely forgetting them the next. Context for DigCit is key, as is for most new concepts, it allows students to engage in learning aspects of DigCit as required. For example when creating a video for a science class, students could learn about image privacy and video content, as well as the use of copyrighted material. Or when registering for a new online website, what does it mean to have a ‘complex’ password. These taught in context provide students with a deeper understanding of what it means to be a positive digital citizen and is more relatable to the real world.
Choose a model of DigCit for your community
Providing a model of DigCit that works for your school community is pivotal. A commonly used DigCit language across the whole school is very important as this allows teachers, students and parents alike to all understand and relate to. A common language helps all stakeholders to be more comfortable in not only teaching but also modelling this type of positive behavior with technology. I personally like the ISTE New Digital Citizenship Model which offers 3 spheres of DigCit, Digital Agent, Digital Interactor and Digital Self. This is used across the whole school at all year levels and is taught in varied complexities to accommodate.
Your RUP or AUP should be focused on positive elements of technology
Many technology use policies (RUP, AUP’s) which are framed around the DON’Ts regarding technology use at school. This conversation needs to be reframed into positive elements. Remembering our students find it difficult to know what is, or isn’t, appropriate at the best of times, let alone when using tech. Statements like ‘I am an empathetic and positive user of online forums’ is much better than ‘do not use chat functions at school’ for example. This type of wording allows students with clear positive expectations of the type of behaviour that creates safe online experiences.
‘It takes a village’ to teach DigCit
A commonly coined term ‘it takes a village’ to get something done applies more than ever here. The importance of DigCit being positively modelled in aspects student life is imperative to their understanding and learning. Engaging your parent community in your chosen model and educating them on what DigCit means is just as important as teaching your students. At home, parents are key role models in the way they interact with their devices and being online. Setting clear expectations and guidelines that reflect your school environment will create a positive community of positive DigCit.
Here are some of my favourite ‘go to’ resources for teaching and learning DigCit.
A plethora or resources for teachers, students and parents. Most commonly known for their great sequenced DigCit curriculum and lesson plans that can be integrated into almost any classroom. They also have an amazing e-newsletter that if you are not already receiving, get across and subscribe to that right away. They have separate educators and parent newsletters – I subscribe to both.
A fun series of 4 game-based learning activities for upper primary school students to learn about aspects of password protection, over sharing, and standing up against online bullies with the superpower of kindness. This coupled with some of the CommonSense Media lessons will lead you on your way to providing your students with some great learning opportunities.
How can we leverage new learning opportunities to better support student learning at school?
When the pandemic escalated earlier this year, schools across the world were thrust into online learning environments. For many educational institutions, this dramatically changed the way teachers teach and most importantly the way students learned. On the one side, some schools were somewhat more prepared with already successful blended learning models that were being used as a part of normal ‘in school’ instruction, albeit used by certain teachers more than others. However, it was least a great starting point. But on the flip side…others were not.
As we now see schools across the globe beginning to return back to on-campus instruction, what can we now do to leverage the opportunity this pandemic has provided education? When this began EdTech teachers and leaders were all of a sudden thrust into the limelight and suddenly being looked to for answers to questions such as, ‘what does this look like?’ ‘Are our teachers and students prepared?’ ‘How will we do this?’. All of a sudden EdTech leaders began to consider, ‘is this the prime opportunity to showcase learning tools that support student learning – a silver lining perhaps?’
You don’t need to look far on the news and social media to see some amazing affordances that technology has played in allowing students to continue learning from home. Teachers dramatically upskilled themselves in aspects of content creation, online teaching, and tools they previously had never heard of. Even the term ‘zoom’ has taken a whole new meaning. So what can we do now? How can we use this silver lining the Edtech community is talking about as we begin to return to the classroom?
1. Assess new learning
Take time with teachers and students to reflect on the new skills learned and gained during this time. Focus specifically on the positive elements such as improved teacher awareness of EdTech tools, as well as identifying areas of students learning. This may include not only students who are more independent and self-directed, but also their recent exposure to a range of new online tools that can be brought back into the classroom through a blended learning model.
Take aim at EdTech pedagogical models such as TPACK and SAMR which can assist teachers in classifying their use of the technology. Not only in assessing or focusing on online learning where they are sometimes forced to use the technology, but specifically planning for it in more meaningful ways in the blended classroom. Also, check out the‘ 4 Shifts Protocol’ by Scott McLeod for a slightly different perspective on teaching and learning with technology in an authentic manner.
3. Focus on the positive aspects of online learning
Sure, there are negatives to online learning and we now know more than ever that physical face-to-face teaching, particularly for young learners, is so important and much more time-efficient and effective. But try to focus on the affordances that technology has provided you. Use some of these focus questions to target responses.
– What elements of online learning made your teaching and student learning experience better or more concise? – Was it the assessment techniques, the ability to track student work submissions all in one place? – To provide specific and targeted feedback all in one place in multiple media forms? – What aspects of this can be leveraged in a blended learning model?
4. Identify areas for improvement
Following on, reflect on the aspects of online learning which when coupled with face-to-face instruction in a physical classroom can lead to amazing learning experiences! We have all up-skilled ourselves in so many ways and teachers are some of the most creative professionals in the way they use various tools to support teaching and learning. So challenge yourself to find the areas of your online teaching that can be improved in a blended learning model.
5. Just do it – seriously!
Obviously we do not want students coming back to school and running an on-campus copy of online learning again. However, try and dedicate time to making the transition to blended learning. Long term, your students will thank you as the skills they are developing now will set them up for success later, you will thank yourself for the impact technology has on your teaching in the classroom with regard to student tracking, feedback and overall time management.
To conclude, we all don’t know what the future holds and whether or not this type of paradigm shift in education will cross our paths again. But one thing is certain, technology is the future and the sooner we must understand and harness it to support learning the better!
For many of us, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) provide some nostalgia back to the Skynet taking over human civilization or the rise of self-aware robots that look like Will Smith. And for many years, Hollywood has dramatized AI and painted a scary perception of the possibilities of what this type of technology can become – but luckily for us this is still somewhat a pipe dream.
That being said, this does not mean that AI isn’t already all around us. To put it simply, Artificial Intelligence is a sequence of algorithms (code) that run repeatedly aiming to predict and complete complex tasks in the matter of seconds. Additionally, Machine Learning is the data set(s) and information being collected which allows a large majority of AI technology to function. For example, personally curated playlists on Spotify, global trending tweets on Twitter, or even stock market transactions are all extremely complex tasks that would be merely impossible for humans to do, let alone in a timely manner, hence the increased reliance on AI and ML.
All of this data is collated by using a range of sequenced algorithms that learn from one’s online interaction. Take those ‘I’m not a Robot’ tests – where it asks you to ‘Click all the traffic lights’. While some people either find these fun or super annoying, is a prime example of humans providing ML data to AI technology; the more data, the more precise it can be. Some other examples are ‘Recommended Videos on YouTube, Popup Ads, Chat Bots on websites or simply agreeing to the ‘Terms and Conditions’ when registering for accounts – all things our students do on a daily basis.
What does this mean for students?
To place this into a more relatable context, educators are beginning to see the educational cognitive affordance that coding has on student learning. I am not saying that all students need to be able to code an AI algorithm, but understanding the basics of how it works and its impact on society right now is extremely important. More and more our students are spending countless hours online and using technology devices connected to the internet (IoT devices). All of these online interactions are feeding huge data sets of ML at incredible speeds. What they watch on YouTube, search on Google, permissions they allow when registering for popular social media sites are all examples of how ML collates uses data.
More recently the impact of the General Data Protection Regulation (G.D.P.R.) has seen many companies rethink the types and amount of data being collected and what they actually do with it. This places data protection and the ethics of the collection regarding AI into the spotlight for us as educators. So how do we ensure our students are aware of this type of technology and how to protect their personal data and information?
Where do I start?
For many adults, this concept is difficult to grasp. So teaching it to students as young as 7 or 8 years old is seemingly impossible without some relatability and context. Below I have curated a shortlist of basic tools and resources to support teachers in better unpacking a not-so-easy topic for students and teachers alike.
A fantastic ‘child-friendly’ resource for teachers to use and/or print. The Hello Ruby book series is also a great resource for teaching all digital technology resources. Some of my favorites are the ‘reCAPTCHA Code’ and ‘Build your own Robot’ activities from the Activity Journal.
A fun and exciting AI game created by Google to predict your doodles based on previous data. You can also view hundreds of thousands of other drawings to see how the AI program successfully guessed your somewhat interesting drawing or a ‘flower’.
If you’ve been using Scratch with your students this is a great resource to expand their knowledge of AI and coding. This tool allows you to create your own AI project to recognize ‘text, images, numbers, or sounds’ through machine learning.
A new sandbox version of Scratch which allows users to utilise elements of AI and ML. It has some preset AI extensions already preset, but my favourite is using Teachable Machine to plugin to and create your own AI program.
A tool created by MIT to collate human data based on situational dilemmas that are based on human morals. This famously relates to their study around ethics and AI technology concerning self-driving cars.
Wreck-it Ralph 2 – Ralph Breaks the Internet
Yes, a Disney Film teaching about AI… well not exactly, but there are some great areas of conversation that can be brought up by watching this film.
If, like me, you are a visual learner, here are some great videos to help explain AI and Machine Learning, these are great for the kids too!
Well, not just yet, AI for all its amazing capabilities is still not very good at very basic human tasks. AI is very ‘robotic’ in the way it operates, therefore it is up to humans to provide the right data for it to work its magic. As educators, preparing our students to become better online digital citizens is paramount, which is why AI and ML should be taught as a part of your digital citizenship curriculum. This will equip them with the necessary knowledge and understanding to tackle the complex online world which has become a cornerstone of the 21st Century.