Toontastic iPad application

This application would be good to help teach children about narrative composition. It allows them to draw their own animations, take photos of themselves and create movies. The ‘Story Arc’ feature also provides a nice scaffold for the structure of narratives, helping navigate students through the features of setting, conflict, climax and resolution. Compared with Play School Art Maker, Toontastic is not as intuitive to use and many features are locked on the free version.   




Using the ‘Play School art maker’ application for younger students

The ‘Play School art maker’ would be a great application to be used for developing certain literacy and technology skills in younger students. It is easy to navigate (great inbuilt scaffolds), engaging and utilises characters and contexts of great familiarity to students – harnessing the powerful medium of popular culture. This application lends itself particularly well to helping students develop the skills of thinking imaginatively and creatively to retell and recreate familiar texts. It also provides them with a forum to experiment with iPads and how they can create multimodal texts to achieve particular purposes for certain audiences.

iPads and Kindergarten

The reading for this week was by Matthew Jones, a Kidergarten teacher at Wiley park public School, about using iPads for literacy development in Kindergarten. Key ideas from this paper were:

  • New technologies (e.g. computers, iPads) are now an important part of students’ daily lives and that their interactions with these technologies represents a significant part of their ‘play’ experiences 
  • Child-initiated socio-dramatic play helps to enhance language development and, as such, needs to be incorporated in the Kindergarten classroom – iPads provide an excellent forum for this
  •  It is useful to build upon popular culture (e.g. Playschool) to angage and extend literacy learning  – apps such as the ‘Play School art maker’ help to do this
  • Always at the heart of good literacy lessons is the teacher’s understanding of literacy and langauge development  – interactions and guidance from an experienced teacher is essential
  • Effective classroom reading practice will include the use of: (a) pre-reading activities that help students make prior connections to the ideas and and vocabulary in the text to be read; (b) during-reading activities to help students access the meaning and function of a text; and (c) after-reading experiences that allow students to respond creatively to the text
  • iPads have a significant impact on student engagement, helping them to sustain interest in the task of retelling a story and providing a powerful means for meaning-making. They are also effective devices for tracking and recording student learning for assessment purposes. 


Jones, M. (2012). iPads and Kindergarten Students’ Literacy Development. SCAN: The Journal for Educators 31.4 (November2012): 31-38. Print. (

IWB lesson idea

The Lost Thing IWB lesson procedure:

1. Read the Lost Thing to students
2. Bring up IWB file on Smartboard (as shown below)

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 10.39.11 AM
3. Explain the purpose of the lesson: To explore how Shaun Tan uses particular images and setting to create a certain mood and feeling.
4. Show image of last page. Ask ‘how does Shaun Tan want us to feel about this image? ‘can anyone suggest what about the image makes you feel this way?’
5. Explain that we are going to change the mood and feeling of this image by adding to the setting.
6. Demonstrate how to click and drag an item into the image, modelling how to give a reason for your choice, eg. ‘I’m going to add this butterfly, because they remind me of being out in the sunshine, which makes me feel warm and content.’ Check your prediction to see if your edit alters the mood of the image.
7. Click and drag the corresponding adjective under the image.
8. Have various students come up to IWB and repeat Steps 6 and 7.

9. Hold a discussion of how images and setting change the mood and feelings of a book.

The most important aspect of using an IWB to make it a useful classroom tool for learning:

This week’s article was a review by Higgins, Beauchamp and Miller (2007) on the utility of interactive whiteboards (IWBs) in the classroom. Through this paper they discuss the emerging research that shows that IWBs have the capacity to alter the manner in which learning takes place and to increase teacher and student motivation. However, the key message highlighted is that there has been no research to show that the use of IWBs has a significant impact on student achievement. Instead, the most important factor making an IWBs a useful classroom learning tool is the skill and professional knowledge of the teacher mediating the learning experience/s.   


Higgins, S., G. Beauchamp, and D. Miller (2007), Reviewing the literature on interactive whiteboards, Learning, Media and technology, 32(3), 213-225.

A couple of useful blogs to be used as models for the primary classroom

Blog 1:

This blog, titled ’56B Classroom’, is a good learning platform for Mr Bradbury’s 19 student Stage 3 class in Liddiard Road Primary School, Traralgon, Victoria, Australia. Strengths of this blog which would make it a good model for other primary classrooms include:

(a) Its beautiful display of class work samples, helping to foster a sense of class identity that is positive, proud and inclusive 

(b) That it is regularly updated and hence an important part of the weekly classroom learning experience

 (c) Students are encouraged to use it both as a forum for commenting on their learning experiences during the week and to complete posted homework tasks – enabling a strong student-home connection in learning

(d) It encourages external participants to comment on activties

(e) It connects with other classrooms globally, such as a school in Taiwain – fostering the development of students as global citizens and making learning meaningful

(f) Its great use of exercises relevant to the new Australian Curriculums, such as visual literacy exercise (e.g. ‘look and learn’ exercises)

(g) Its fun, colourful and easy to navigate layout

This blog would be an appropriate model for another Stage 3 classroom due to the content it covers.  

Blog 2:

This blog, titled ‘Mrs Morgan’s Superstars’, is a good learning platform for Mr Morgan’s Stage 1 class in Texas. Strengths of this blog which would make it a good model for other primary classrooms include:

(a) Connections to the global classroom project – fostering students’ global citizenship and communication abilities

(b) Great activity ideas that are highly linked to digital literacy and are explained/dispalyed in an easy to replicate manner 

(c) Good blogging and comment guidelines to encourage respectful, engaging dialogue between the class and the blog guests

(d) That it is regularly updated and hence an important part of the weekly classroom learning experience

This blog would be an appropriate model for another Stage 1 classroom due to the content it covers.