Networked Learning Project: Uke 101


Casey lovingly handing over her ukulele to me

My first big hurdle in playing the ukulele was convincing my daughter that I could be trusted with her ukulele, her prized possession.

Great, I have a ukulele and I’m ready to start playing.

It seems, it’s not as simple as that. When researching as to where I should start, there was so much information on the net that I decided to break the learning process into different parts.

1. Tuning the Ukulele

Before I started I had to tune the ukulele. I found readily the following sites to help me with this process. The problem with these sites was that you have to do the tuning by ear and that the sound (note) emitted by plucking each string was slightly different on each of the two websites. I then found an app on iTunes that was very helpful to me in the tuning of the ukulele. I eventually did get the ukulele tuned as close as I could get it by ear. I’m glad I found this app as I found that I needed to tune the ukulele every time that I played it.

2. Holding and Strumming the Ukulele

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Mastering the ukulele hold.

The next hurdle that I had to overcome was holding the ukulele. As the ukulele is quite small I found that trying to hold and strum the ukulele was quite difficult and my hands seemed to be too large for the small instrument. I experimented quite a bit with positioning so that I was able to strum the strings rhythmically. There are many YouTube sites that deal with strumming the ukulele. This was both a solution and a hindrance as there were so many clips that it can become quite confusing and contradictory in methods and styles. I eventually found a YouTube clip on strumming that suited me. I also found out that you strum a ukulele in different ways depending on the song that is chosen to play. Just another hurdle that I must overcome, and my song choice might well depend on what strumming style I am able to master.

3. YouTube Tutorial

This then led me to choose a song to play and learn from the tutorials provided on YouTube. The song that I eventually have chosen to play is called Stand By Me by Ben E. King. This song was not my original choice, but was chosen after I was having difficulty with the chord changes on my first choice.

Gee (2013) discusses reflective learning in his book, The Anti-Education Era. He discusses the fact that reflective learning is not taught formally in schools and that, “Much of formal schooling is devoted to listening to and reading language, not to taking actions in the world that are relevant to them” (p.16).  and that, “…students can see no clear and compelling goal for learning in formal classrooms” (p.16). With this in mind as I was practicing the tuning and strumming techniques with the ukulele I found this to be accurate. If there was no ultimate goal to achieve in a student’s learning then the knowledge/skill presents itself as learning for learnings sake with little or no practical application. But with my ultimate goal of learning to play a song on the ukulele I could see that by doing the formal learning before hand, this in turn helped me in achieving my goal.

While attempting to complete this challenge and in contemplating Gee’s (2013) reflective action, he states that, “Real learning requires new experiences connected to goal-directed actions and to ways of properly assessing the results of our actions in terms of our goals” (p.208). I also found this to be true in the sense that by taking on this challenge, which I thought would be relatively simple, I have had to constantly review and adapt in order to achieve my network learning challenge. Did I overestimate my skills? Yes!

Gee (2013) talks about digital learning being profound but when combined with face to face interaction the learning has greater potential to produce the best results. I believe that this would be true. The challenge prevented me from seeking help from my daughter (a competent ukulele player) and I feel that had she been able to provide personalized advice with the particular difficulties that I was experiencing, the learning would have been quicker and probably more effective. Although some would argue that the process of working it out yourself embeds the knowledge more deeply, I would argue on this occasion, that to be shown the skill accurately from the beginning would result in better learning. Because the YouTube tutorial was not interactive and I was having difficultly with the strumming technique, there could be no diagnosis about where I was having problems. The YouTube clip was simply an instructional video offering no interaction between user and instructor.


Gee, J. (2013). The Anti-Education ERA: Creating Smarter Students Through Digital Learning (First ed.). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan

Free Ukulele Lesson – How to Tune and Hold Your Ukulele – Video Dailymotion. [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from

UkuTuner – Keep that thing in tune! [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Ukulele Tuner on the App Store on iTunes. [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Ukulele Lessons – Right Hand Strumming Beginner. [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from

How to strum a ukulele! [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from


#MakerFaireEL – LED Name Badges



You too can make an LED Name Badge. Its simple and they look Awesome!

The MAET Year 1 cohort, has been looking at and preparing for our own Maker Faire (#MakerFaireEl) at MSU. The activity that our group developed was to make LED Circuit Name Badges. We chose this Maker Faire activity because it would teach the participants about circuits. In the process of making an LED name badge, the participants will be constructing and learning about how simple circuits are made and how they work.

Materials required for LED Circuit name badge.

#MakerFairEL Name Badge (white cardex 220gsm: 10 cm x 14 cm / 4 inches x 5.5 inches approx)
Tiny LED Lights ($12.50 for 80 assorted colored lights)
Double-sided Scotch Tape ($6.49 for a 3 pack)
Scotch Tape ($6.49 for a 3 pack)
Conductive Foil Tape ($2.95 for 50 feet)
Scissors ($9.99 for a set of 12)
Coin Battery (CR2032 3V Coin Cell Battery, $30.99 for 100)
Paper Punch ($10.51 for a set of 3)

LED Circuit Name Badge Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Color and decorate your name badge.

Pre-cut Name Badge

Pre-cut Name Badge

2. Decide where you would like to place the light.  Punch a hole in that place with the paper punch.


3. Plan out your circuit. Decide where to place the battery and check that your conductive foil tape will reach the LED leads (small metal rods extruding from LED globe). For this project we pre-cut the conductive foil tape to lengths of approximately 5 cm or 2 inches and was cut in half, lengthwise to conserve the tape.

4. Look at the picture of the simple circuit as an example of how a simple circuit is constructed.

Simple circuit

Simple circuit

5. Examine pre-made examples of a circuit (if required).

Pre-made circuit

Pre-made circuit

6.To make the circuit, place the LED globe through hole punched hole and spread out the LED leads (small metal rods extruding from LED globe).


7. Peel off the sticky side of the conductive foil tape and stick across one of the leads. Making sure that it reaches the other piece of conductive foil tape and the battery.


8. Lay the coin battery on top of the first piece  tape, positive(+ve) side up.


9. Position the other piece of conductive foil tape so it connects with the positive (+ve) side of the battery (the top). Peel off the sticky side of the conductive foil tape and stick across the other lead. Making sure that it reaches both the first piece of conductive foil tape and the battery. Use Scotch tape to stick the battery to your name badge.



10. Make sure a firm connection is made. Stick all components down firmly with Scotch tape.


Troubleshooting section:

If not working check the battery that the positive (+ve) side is up (facing you). If LED does not light, check the connections between the conductive foil tape and the LED leads.

11. Stick all parts down with Scotch tape making sure conductive foil tape has a good connection with the LED leads and the battery.

12. Cut a piece of yarn and pace through the card.


13. Using double-sided Scotch  tape seal both sides of the card to enclose the circuit inside the LED name badge.

14. Place yarn around your neck and wear your new LED name badge with pride.



Helpful Hints:

When working with younger children, create a simplified version of the circuit. Explain to them that there is a positive (+ve) and a negative (-ve) side to the battery (show battery) and also a positive lead (the longer lead) and negative lead with the LED light. Show the children that when we use the LED and the battery in a particular way the LED works and lights up. If we reversed the LED or the battery the LED would not light up. This method is very quick and ‘always’ works. The participants, especially the younger ones need something quick and simple that works.

IMG_2384 IMG_2386 IMG_2387

Lesson Plan – Version 5.0: Final Revision

In reviewing my lesson plan for a professional development day of staff, it is clear that modifications were necessary. As the Principal of a primary school I deliver a lot of professional development to the staff and I can now see that it is imperative for the staff (as learners) that I provide the best possible professional development, by ensuring that the principles of TPACK, Universal Design for Learning and Professional/Personal Learning Networks are covered, also ensuring that I model good digital citizenship and the use of Creative Commons are employed on all media displayed. I will discuss these in greater depth and detail during my blog.

Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)

MAETEL1 provided me with many new ideas and methodologies, one significant concept that I learned is called TPACK. It stands for Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge, (Mishra & Koehler, 2006) and it is an educational framework used to design classroom instruction that combines the three principles of Technology, Content Knowledge, and Pedagogy into a single framework. This is what I believe all teachers strive for with each of their lessons, especially when adding technology to create 21st Century learning environments. I used this framework to modify my original lesson plan, ensuring that all aspects of TPACK were incorporated into my lesson of teaching the staff to enter notes of commendation and notes of concern into the school SEQTA system.

“Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by

Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by

Firstly, I had to ask myself, why am I making the staff enter notes of commendation and notes of concern into the school SEQTA system? This question demonstrates content. The staff needs to see a clear purpose and rationale for the use of this data, and how it will benefit themselves, fellow staff and the school in the future. Of course as principal, I could easily just tell the staff that this is what will be done, but the staff needs to take ownership of this process in order for it to be continuous and effective.

When considering the pedagogy of Lesson 5.0 compared to Lesson 2.0, it caused me to think about how I would teach this lesson to my staff. I revised my original lesson to take into consideration the different learning styles and abilities of each staff member. Koehler (2006) expresses that, “Effective technology integration for pedagogy…requires developing sensitivity to the dynamic, transactional relationship between these components of knowledge…no single combination of content, technology, and pedagogy will apply for every teacher, every course, or every view of teaching” (p.37). With this in mind, my lesson was revised to consider all the different learning styles for my teachers.

The process of adding of notes of commendation and notes of concern to the school SEQTA system is the what of the lesson, and will require the use technology i.e. iPads and/or computers. With the addition of technology to the professional development day I must now consider the multitude of different ICT literacy levels of each staff member as this will have a major impact on the functionality of the day and the effectiveness of the learning outcomes in terms of how well future data continues to be entered. Initially this was not considered, but with revision, staff members who need it will be provided extra time and support from myself, the assistant principal or their peers. Mishra and Koehler (2009) clearly states this “…these technologies have the potential to fundamentally change the way we think about teaching and learning” (p.15). This will be a huge mind shift for many members a lot of my staff and each need time, guidance and leadership in order to master this digital technology.

Universal Design for Learning


UDL Bodies 2013. by Chrissie Butler is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Another important aspect to take into consideration when planning or designing lessons to teach, whether to students or adults, is the Universal Design for Learning. By applying the three UDL principles, Multiple Means of Representation (the “what” of learning), Multiple Means for Action and Expression (the “how” of learning) and Multiple Means for Engagement (the “why” of the learning) to my original lesson plan, I felt that some modifications to the lesson plan needed to be made as one size does not fit all and my original approach did not take into consideration the individual learning styles of all staff members. One major aspect that I did not consider was to provide a hard copy printout to staff of the digitally presented information on the day. Another aspect that I have added is to allow staff members to collaborate amongst themselves to help and show each other strategies and techniques as we progress through the day. These changes address individual ICT literacy levels and learning styles. When these three principles are applied in an educational context it provides all students, including staff members, equal opportunities to learn. In turn, assessment and evaluation needs to be individualised, ensuring that each staff member progresses to the intended outcome, whilst acknowledging growth and assistance required during the process.

Professional / Personal Learning Networks

Professional Learning Networks Caroline Bucky is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Professional Learning Networks Caroline Bucky is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Covarubias (2014) states that, “In order to create and lead effective schools, principals need quality professional development and the best way to do that is through an ongoing professional network” (p.11). This statement must be applied to all staff working within the education system. By seeking help and assistance from outside sources, be it work colleagues, consultants or a form of digital media I am able to ensure that the information I present on the day will be accurate, up-to-date and relevant for the staff. I can use these networks to seek additional information about the best way to present information to the staff in order to help them be in the best position be an effective learner.
Covarubias (2014) points out that, “Teachers spend most of their time working in isolation away from each other in self-contained classrooms with no opportunity to engage in continuous and sustained learning about their practice in the setting in which they actually work” (p.25). By allowing time during the professional development day for teachers to collaborate amongst themselves or by seeking digital information is then allowing them to further develop their professional learning networks.

This process of reflection and revision on all the different elements of a lesson plan is what can raise a good learning situation to a great one. It provides an assurance that the goals and outcomes will be achieved; evaluation and assessment before, during and after the lesson ensure the quality of the achievement. By no means is this a complete summary of what needs to be reflected on and continued revision will always have to be done as the needs of learners constantly change, whether it is staff members or in the classroom.


Covarubias, M. (2014). Comparative study of the networked principal vs. the isolated principal. Retrieved from

Mishra, P. & Koehler. M. J. (2009). Too cool for school? No way! Using the TPACK framework: You can have your hot tools and teach with them, too. Learning & Leading with Technology, 36(7), 14-18.

TPACK Explained | [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from

TPACK.ORG. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Networked Learning Project – A Challenge!!

A challenge you say…Bring it on!

Ukulele koyama s11 and other from Cebunal. George79 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Ukulele koyama s11 and other from Cebunal. George79 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The challenge that I have been set, is to learn something that I have always wanted to learn but have never gotten around to learning it. And, to make the challenge a little more interesting, I will only be able to use YouTube and Internet Help Forums for information about how I will learn my new skill. I say, bring it on!

The challenge that I have set myself is to lean to play a song on the ukulele. I have watched my daughter playing her ukulele on many occasions and have always want to pick it up an play a song on it, but I have always found some excuse to avoid sitting down and learning to play the ukulele.

In order for me to learn the basics and ‘actually’ playing a song on the ukulele, I will definitely have to reach out to my personal learning networks, as I currently have no idea of how to play the ukulele. During this time I will  watch Youtube tutorials clips seeking information about holding, strumming and selecting notes on a ukulele. I will watch tutorials that are posted on YouTube, and I will use help forums on the internet if required to help me succeed with my challenge.

I have found some possible links that will help me with this challenge, so that I will be able to play a song on the ukulele.

Youtube clips:

There are also lots of tutorials on YouTube that will teach you to play a song. Here are just a few of the multitude of tutorials available.

Some other links that I may use in my endeavor to play a song on the ukulele:

Version 4.0: Networked Learning Revision Lesson

Professional Learning Networks Caroline Bucky is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Professional Learning Networks Caroline Bucky is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Due of the high complexity of the nature of role as a primary school principal, I require ongoing professional development in order for me to lead effectively and respond to the challenges intrinsic to school leadership. My Professional Learning Networks amongst fellow principals, colleagues, consultants from the system office, friends, local community and the ‘online’ community is essential and a valuable source of professional learning for me and for all school leaders. In Covarrubias’ (2014) words, “In order to create and lead effective schools, principals need quality professional development, and the best way to do that is through an ongoing professional network” (p.11). This professional network is crucial to me as most of the time principals work in isolation…we are the Lords of our domains!

This networking is important especially for the professional development of staff to ensure that the professional development is accurate and worthwhile for all staff. In looking back at my Lesson Plan Version 3.0, the networks that I would have utilized would have been by contacting peer principals seeking information if they had previously conducted a day on SEQTA dealing with Pastoral Care of students.

By reviewing Lesson Plan Version 3.0, I would seek guidance and advice initially from my Assistant Principal, knowing that he has used this part of the SEQTA program previously and may have some valuable input for the day. I would also discuss with the Assistant Principal any possible pitfalls that may occur during the professional development i.e. ICT literacy levels of staff, staff who may have issues with this idea, relevance for the staff, school and system and any possible digital technology problems on the day. I would then approach the SEQTA consultants who deal with our system seeking any further or extra information that will be required to conduct the day successfully as this is a relatively new program for the school.

By using my professional networks and then leveraging the power of these networks it will help me to develop a clear and concise process for the day. I will use these networks to help me try to avoid any possible problems, issues or concerns that may arise (especially as we will be using digital technologies) within the staff of adding data to the SEQTA Program. I would also incorporate time in the professional day for the staff to use their networks as this is important for them and will aid them with this endeavor. This would be done at the beginning of the professional development day and then at the end of the day, allowing then to collect and revise their thoughts of the day.

Image by Alec Couros, Flickr 2015. Licensed by CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Image by Alec Couros, Flickr 2015. Licensed by CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

During, and also after the professional development day the staff will use their  professional learning networks, firstly by means of talking and discussing different discussion points raised during the day amongst themselves and also with me as facilitator of the day and also by using the previous knowledge of the Assistant Principal. As my school has two distinct areas, Junior Primary and Middle/Upper Primary, I have observed that these two groups of teaching staff will have regularly scheduled informal meetings to discuss curriculum, any issues and concerns within their particular areas. They use this as networking time due to the business of the ‘normal’ teaching day. Were they work alongside of one another, but rarely interact with each other during the school day. Covarrubias (2014) clearly states,

“Teachers spend most of their time working in isolation away from each other in self-contained classrooms with no opportunity to engage in continuous and sustained learning about their practice in the setting in which they actually work” (p.25).

Covarrubias (2014) then likens this to two children playing beside each other in the sand pit, each doing their own thing, but never really interacting during their play.

I actively encourage ‘all’ my staff to develop professional learning networks, although many of the staff already have professional learning networks, especially the more experienced teachers as they regularly comment on the benefits of these networks, although they might necessarily call them Professional Learning Networks. This revision of Lesson Plan 3.0 would support learning as it would require the staff and also myself to take the next step and actively seek out further information individually, in small cluster group meetings or actively seeking further information on line. Trust (2012) remarks that,

“Many teachers are joining online communities of likeminded individuals and subscribing to various blogs and Web sites to continue learning and improve their professional practice…When a teacher joins an online community or subscribes to education blogs, podcasts, and news feeds, the teacher is building a professional learning network (PLN)” (p.34).

Today with the digital resources so readily and easily available, I would encourage all staff, not just the teaching staff to join these online communities to further develop their learning.

Professional learning networks.

My Professional Learning Networks.


Covarubias, M. (2014). Comparative study of the networked principal vs. the isolated principal (Order No. AAI3628142). Available from PsycINFO. (1678753285; 2015-99090-166). Retrieved from

Trust, T. (2012). Professional Learning Networks Designed for Teacher Learning (Reviewed). Australian Educational Computing 27 (1), 34-38.


Copyright of Softonic International S.A. 1997-2015.

Copyright of Softonic International S.A. 1997-2015.

Today Laurie Fernandez and myself made a small digital video using Mozilla’s  Popcorn-Maker.  The topic that we used was ‘eLearning’.  eLearning is learning utilizing electronic technologies to access educational curriculum outside of a classroom.

We first talked about what is eLearnng and how have the classrooms and teaching methods changes over the years.

To make our video, we first needed to find media on the internet.  We found some classroom pictures of the past showing the ‘old’ style old classrooms and the teaching methods. We then progressed through the years to current day eLearning where students can learn anywhere, anyplace and anytime.

The video we used was found on Vimeo.  It is called After School by Keisuke Itoh.  We looked for images using the Creative Commons site and choose to look for images that were free to use.  The sound file was found on Sound Cloud.  It is called Zoella Background Music.

Once we found the media, we pulled it into Popcorn-Maker and then we dragged it to the timeline of the video.  Next, we tried to edit the timeline to make the video run smoothly.

We found this program a difficult program to use. I believe that there more user friendly programs on the market that allow for easy accessibility to formatting digital media. If I was going to use this program I would only use this with upper primary students. I can see a lot of frustrations involved with Popcorn-Maker.

Our Popcorn-Maker Movie.

Professional Learning Networks

Professional learning networks.

Professional Learning Networks. Created using Popplet –

My Professional Learning Networks are important to me personally and professionally. These are the people and the networks that I connect with to seek advice, clarification, support, guidance, ‘down time’ or just some good humour. Depending on the support or guidance that I require, this will then determine the direction that I will take in these learning networks. These are important to me especially in my role as principal. At some stage most of these connections will interconnect even though I have placed them separately within the diagram.

Having Professional Learning Networks are important to me as a Principal because there are some issues that I deal with on a daily basis that I am not allowed to talk to family, friends and fellow staff members. By having these networks it allows me to the ability to seek advice or research a particular answer to a problem.

By creating this diagram on Popplet, it allows me to plot out and see my Professional Learning Networks. By doing this it allows me to actually see that I am surrounded by a number of learning networks, especially as the role of the principal can be viewed somewhat as a lonely position. I also note that this diagram is by no means complete.

Lesson Plan Version 3.0: UDL Revision

Universal Design for Learning: What is it, you ask? And how does it apply to Staff Professional Development?

Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning by Guilia Forsythe is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is made up of three principles:

  1. Multiple Means of Representation: This principle deals with the “what” of learning, and how we recognise the what of learning.
  2. Multiple Means for Action and Expression: This principle looks into the strategies of “how” students learned the information presented.
  3. Multiple Means for Engagement: This principle explores the effectiveness and the “why” of the learning that is taking place.

When these three principles are applied in an educational context it provides all students (and staff) within the educational system, equal opportunities to learn.

Conducting professional development with staff is very different and sometimes very difficult to teaching a lesson in the classroom to students. The approach that I must take is on a different level as the staff, as put by Nipper, Ricks, Kilpatrick, Mayhew, Thomas, Kwon, Klerlein and Hembree. (2011),

“…teachers have participated in one form of professional development or another, they bring to any professional development activity certain expectations – sometimes strongly held – as to what that activity should be and what they should be able to apply from it” (p.376). 

When these expectations of staff are not met as perceived by them, then this can bring tension to the professional development. When this occurs, staff will often not get the full benefit from the professional development day. Staff can become closed minded and resist the learning opportunity.

By reviewing my lesson plan Version 2.0 and now applying the UDL Guidelines to leading a staff professional development day designed around adding comments of commendation or concern to the pastoral care section of a school based computer system (SEQTA – Teacher’s Assistant Suite). I felt that there were some modifications to the lesson plan that I did not originally think about for the day to make it equal for all staff members. I felt that one aspect that I did not consider which was raised by Nate Stevenson (from Kent State University) in one of our sessions. This was to provide a hard copy printout of the information on the day for staff to follow and take notes if preferred.

After a discussion this morning with Mary Wever concerning the structure/input of the MAETEL Yr1 Program and some issues and concerns that we (as students) had, it only affirms the issue that professional development for staff needs to be carefully planned out in order to engage and be effective for all staff members. When planning my professional development day and applying the principles of UDL, I also need to take into consideration the staff ICT literacy levels. This will have a major impact on the functionality of the day and the means used to present this information to the staff. Currently on my staff I have ICT literacy levels ranging from highly competent to ‘just know how to do the basics’.

The staff will also need to see the benefit of this and that it is not just seen as something that is imposed from the top down, thus just creating more work for works sake! Rather than me just telling the staff that they have to do it, they as a staff group, must see the relevance and benefits of the whole process in order for them to take ownership and continue to add positive and negative comments to the pastoral care section of SEQTA.

Canniff and Shank (2003) talk about good schools and good standards not only coming from the administration but that the whole teaching community needs to be involved in the process, thus establishing a well established culture of excellence amongst all the staff and a high perception of excellence within the community. In applying this new information I believe that I have now developed a Professional Development day Lesson Plan Version 3.0: UDL Revision that will benefit all staff.


Canniff, J. G., & Shank, M. J. (2003). If you do what you always did, you get what you always got: Portland SST transforming school cultures through a seamless continuum of teacher professional development Retrieved from

Nipper, K., Ricks, T., Kilpatrick, J., Mayhew, L., Thomas, S., Kwon, N. Y., . . . Hembree, D. (2011). Teacher tensions: Expectations in a professional development institute. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 14(5), 375-392. Retrieved from

Lesson Plan: Version 2.0, TPACK Revision


“Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by”

“Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by”

Today we did a lot of work around the TPACK Framework. The TPACK Framework extends Shulman’s idea of Pedagogical Content Knowledge. This Framework develops the idea of a seamless integration of Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge. This framework assists teachers with the integration of technology into their teaching programmes.

Before I offer my thoughts on the TPACK revision of my Lesson Plan 2.0, I believe that I need to provide some background as this lesson is not a lesson that will be taught within the classroom. It is a lesson about teaching the staff how to use a new program within the school administrative system SEQTA. In my current role as Principal of a primary school, I find myself delivering many professional development days to the staff on a wide variety of topics such as: the implementation of a new Curriculum; developing new school policies; implementation of technology; organising and running staff retreats…and the list goes on!

As Principal, I must embed a culture within my school of continuous improvement, innovation and creativity based upon current research and ensuring that these are core characteristics of the school. In my role as Principal and along with my Assistant Principal’s, I need to identify trends and influences that will have an impact upon the management of the school and plan for these so that they are incorporated into the school at all areas.

Although presenting professional development to a group of teachers is different to teaching students in a classroom, the principle is still the same. By utilising the TPACK Framework when developing the professional development day, it will provide me a framework to ensure that all the staff are fully aware of the outcomes and leave the day with a good understanding of what has been presented.

The content of Lesson Plan 2.0 is that the staff will be able to add ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ Pastoral Care comments to individual student records using the SEQTA suite as part of their daily routine along with the absentee records. This is building upon their knowledge of the SEQTA suite. Once this data has been entered, the staff will then email or SMS this information to the parents concerned. The idea behind this process is to have in one location all the records of each student, developing a compete academic history from the start of school until the student leaves school in Year 12.

The staff will use their school iPad to log onto the SEQTA system as each classroom teacher has a specific log on code associated with their individual classroom. The other technology used will be presented by me using digital media either a PowerPoint or a Keynote presentation to show the staff on an electronic whiteboard.

The pedagogy used during the professional development day will need to take into consideration the different levels of ICT literacy levels of each teacher and their different classroom situations and their different specialties. Koehler (2006) states that,

“Effective technology integration for pedagogy around specific subject matter requires developing sensitivity to the dynamic, transactional relationship between these components of knowledge situated in unique contexts. Individual teachers, grade-level, school-specific factors, demographics, culture, and other factors ensure that every situation is unique, and no single combination of content, technology, and pedagogy will apply for every teacher, every course, or every view of teaching” (p.37).

This must be taken into consideration for the successful completion of the professional development day.

With all this in mind it is always important inform the staff in advance of the nature of the day and to have them prepare any required material in well in advance to reduce any anxiety amongst the staff who are less ICT literate. By using the TPACK Framework and also stated by Mishra and Koehler (2009) “…these technologies have the potential to fundamentally change the way we think about teaching and learning.” This applies also will apply to the way we use administrative packages for the classroom, the school and the system.

By keeping the TPACK Framework in mind when I approach any professional development day that I organise for the staff, I believe the day will always be a successful day with all the staff learning something from the day and then taking this newly learnt information back to the classroom.

Citations used:

  • Bransford, John D, Ann L Brown, and Rodney R Cocking. How People Learn. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 2001. Print
  • Mishra, P. & Koehler. M. J. (2009). Too cool for school? No way! Using the TPACK framework: You can have your hot tools and teach with them, too. Learning & Leading with Technology, 36(7), 14-18.
  • SEQTA,. ‘Welcome To SEQTA – The Award-Winning Educational Software Company’. N.p., 2015. Web. 13 July 2015.
  •,. ‘TPACK.ORG’. N.p., 2015. Web. 13 July 2015.
  • Wikipedia,. ‘Lee Shulman’. N.p., 2015. Web. 13 July 2015.

Cooking with TPACK

Cooking with TPACK

Cooking with TPACK

What can you do with a garlic press and fruit?

This morning, we were presented with a unique problem. Firstly we were placed into 3 groups and were told to prepare breakfast. Easy…I thought! But we had to do this with a glass bowl and a ‘garlic press’. Our group was assigned to prepare fruit salad.

By using these tools we had think carefully about how we would cut and or slice strawberries, kiwi fruit and bananas. This made us think about the problem and the processes that we will be using…not just the tools (technology). As Mishra and Koehler (2009) put it “…these technologies has affordances and constraints, potentials and problems that we as educators need to understand before we can start using them for pedagogical purposes.” Even though we had the tools, we had to think and try different processes tin order to produce the final product. As we found out that making fruit salad with a garlic press is quite a difficult process…but it can be done!



This process and the TPACK Framework has provided me with a re-focused line of thinking that is not solely focused on the technology as I previously was. How can I incorporate this piece of technology into my classroom? How can I use this technology to teach a lesson? Are we loosing our way by focusing too much on the technology and ignoring the content and pedagogy? We need to ask ourselves as educator, why am I teaching this to my students?

When we choose lessons to teach we must look at the big picture and have a seamless approach to all our lessons by incorporating Pedagogical Knowledge, Content Knowledge and Technological Knowledge into all lessons.

In the Australian AITSL Teaching Standards a core content standard is that we need to know the content and the how to teach it. This is core to all lessons taught. We also need to understand how student learn and adapt lessons and our pedagogy to suit these individual needs. Experienced educators are able to do this with proficiency but novices will need time and guidance. As stated by Bransford, Brown, and Cocking (2000) “Experts notice features and meaningful patterns of information that are not noticed by novices.” andExperts have acquired a great deal of content knowledge that is organized in ways that reflect a deep understanding of their subject matter”.

As was experienced by all the different groups we all had to prepare a separate menu for breakfast this morning…so we all had the same content. But we all had a different set of ‘technology’. We all had to adapt this ‘technology’ to suit the content and to achieve the final outcome of the lesson.

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