By Shannon Morgan at St Francis of Assisi, Northern Territory.

Year 3/4M from St Francis of Assisi Catholic Primary School in Humpty Doo, Northern Territory, investigated push and pull forces in their Science unit in Term 4, 2018. Digital Technologies were utilised to engage the students and to develop their understanding and abilities across both learning areas.

Students engaged with the Lego WeDo robots, creating an algorithm to demonstrate push and pull forces. Further on, students engaged with the “Sphero SPRK+” to investigate friction and the effect that it has on the speed and manoeuvrability of the robot.

Students were required to use the Sphero Edu app to program Sphero SPRK+ to navigate a simple maze, then to move the maze to a different surface. The data collected included a video and a velocity graph from each maze run, uploaded to their digital portfolio on ClassDojo.

A special thanks to Sue Carter at the CSER Lending Library and Simon Collier from the ACARA Digital Technologies team for facilitating the use of Sphero SPRK+ and the introductory lesson to the Sphero Edu.

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On behalf of the CSER Digital Technologies Education team, we’d like to wish our wonderful community of educators and partners a safe and happy holiday season. To wrap up the year, we would like to share some 2018 program highlights with you all!

  • Project Officers worked face-to-face with over 6,000 teachers, around 2,000 schools and delivered over 400 events across Australia in remote, regional and metropolitan areas.
  • We hit an exciting milestone during the year – engaging over 30,000 teachers across our entire program!
  • We farewelled our fantastic WA Project Officer, Steven Payne, and welcomed enthusiastic Robin McKean to the role!
  • Partnering with The Smith Family, we provided PD teachers to facilitate student projects for the ICT Explorers Challenge.
  • New robotics and digital technologies equipment joined the Lending Library, with Dash and Dot, BlueBot and Micro:Bits being added to the list.
  • CSER ran workshops at a host of conferences, such as EduTech, ACCE, Education in Games Summit, TechPalooza, Tech in the Tropics, and more!
  • We co-hosted two webinars and co-ran a workshop with our friends at the Digital Technologies Hub.
  • Lauren Stanhope reached the most Northerly School in the Torres Strait Islands.
  • Celia and Toni covered a lot of ground across regional and remote Victoria on a road trip!
  • Our F-6 Foundations community reached a milestone of over 12,000 sustained members in November.
  • Our program turned 4 in March this year.

We have thoroughly enjoyed working with you all in 2018 and look forward to seeing you and working with you in 2019!

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We’re going to highlight some unit plan ideas generated by participants in our MOOC that might inspire a unit plan for your own classroom for 2019! In this first post, we have some examples where teachers are combining Digital Technologies and English subjects. These have some from our F-6 Digital Technologies: Extended Massively Open Online Course (MOOC).

Example of student narrative work in ScratchJR

A popular link teachers often make is between narratives and students creating their own animated stories with programming. In this example, Barbs shares what her classroom did with ScratchJR. “Once students have had some basic experience of programming in Scratch Jr they can plan a simple storyboard with linking screens to retell a story or narrative. In the example below students worked collaboratively to plan a four paged story. They then started to code together to create their story. In this story a pig leaves the country and heads for the city. He is coded to meet other characters on the way and ends up back on the farm after visiting outer space. Students develop their creative and critical thinking as they work collaboratively to create a narrative. They problem solve and debug to ensure that their story makes sense. They improve their literacy skills as they talk through the sequences orally. Stories can be shared on the class TV and other students can help to evaluate their digital short book. The creators can compare and contrast their final story compared to their original plan” (Barbs Thomson, F-6 Extended MOOC).

In the following activity, Olivia shares a classroom example of encoding and decoding messages, paired with programming. “A great activity for any year level, but I used it in Foundation. Integration with Maths as well! Students are learning to read and write CVC words (and also numbers). They used whiteboards to firstly decode my secret CVC word and then write their own code for a friend to work out. We were also able to talk about debugging when things went wrong and related it to our programming work with BeeBots and Scratch Jnr. They were so engaged and can build on this to write a sentence with a secret message. I have printed and laminated these to use in the writing area of the classroom so they can continue to use. A great little transition or exit ticket once they know what they are doing. You could write an instruction or morning message for older students or get them to write their own code” (Olivia Matthews, F-6 Extended MOOC).

Secret Code by Olivia Matthews

In a unit to explore interacting and communicating online appropriately in safe online environments, a teacher shares how they addressed these content descriptors in the curriculum with the use of a class blog for discussing a class novel. “Students were reading Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda and discussing how the author engages the audience. A blog was created for students to post their thoughts and ideas across junctures in the novel. Discussions about what is a blog, appropriate content, ways to respond and question. It was great to engage students in discussion and gave the opportunity for all students to participate at their own pace. Also enabled discussions across the whole cohort of six classes” (76krog, F-6 Extended MOOC).

If you’d like more ideas or to build your knowledge and skills for the F-6 Digital Technologies curriculum, visit our F-6 Extended MOOC for free, self-paced professional development! This MOOC features 4 short units of professional development that focus on the integration of Digital Technologies with English and Mathematics.

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By CSER Project Officer, Suzanne Carter, working with Holly Harlow, Classroom Teacher at Jabiru Area School. Class 4/5H from Jabiru Area School held a highly engaging Digital Technologies Expo for the whole school. Using the Mixed Kit from the CSER National Lending Library, the class spent the term learning about computational thinking through the use […]

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We are seeking to appoint an additional QLD-based member to our enthusiastic team of Digital Technologies Project Officers, based across Australia. Our Project Officers support the CSER MOOC program, providing embedded face-to-face support across Australia, with a focus on disadvantaged and Indigenous communities (visit view position advert). This position is available because our wonderful QLD team […]

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By Celia Coffa and Toni Falusi CSER Project Officers support the online courses (MOOC’s) across Australia with face to face professional learning sessions.   The sessions bring the Digital Technologies curriculum to life, highlighting and introducing required skills as well as exploring opportunities for integration across the curriculum. Recently, Toni Falusi (ACT Project Officer) and Celia […]

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The annual international Hour of Code event is almost here! Sign-up your school or library up to run an event in December. This year’s promotion theme is “What is Creativity?” What do your students think creativity is? What types of careers do creative people work in? This is a great opportunity to bust misconceptions and […]

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Assessment is a hot topic at the moment! At CSER, we’ve seen a great deal of interest in professional development around assessment, as schools are starting to move from implementation to reporting phases of Digital Technologies curricula. Recently, Rebecca Vivian and Katrina Falkner had a peer-reviewed research paper about teacher self-efficacy for Digital Technologies, accepted […]

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While our Project Officers are busy travelling to major cities and remote locations to deliver K-12 Digital Technologies professional development to teachers all around Australia, lifelong learning is an ongoing process and our team are always keen to up-skill to ensure teachers have the latest and most up-to-date professional development experiences in their workshops! In […]

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On the 31st of October CSER are partnering with the Digital Technologies Hub to deliver a free webinar on assessment for Digital Technologies! Rebecca and her team at CSER have developed a framework, in partnership with Martin Richards at the Digital Technologies Hub, to help teachers with the interpretation of the ACARA achievement strands for […]

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