Monday, November 30, 2009

NAPLAN Resources

Most Australian teachers of literacy and numeracy know that last 2 years of NAPLAN tests are online at

You can print out a test and give it to the students and see how they go... but that is a lot of marking to do and then entering it into spreadsheets for analysis.

The other option is to use TurningPoint Anywhere and have the questions projected on screen. As most of the NAPLAN is multi choice it is perfect for gathering this type of data. Then it is just a case of running the report to get the marking done.

This has just hit my radar as well - - if you have some lab time you can get the students to do a couple of these - again all marked for you.

Take the stress out of NAPLAN preparation.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The role of computers in education.

You would think that for someone who works in educational technology I would have a firm grasp of where technology sits in schools in Australia.... Not really. Part of the problem is things change really fast in the outside world. When I was at school the internet was not accessible (it was there though), computers were found in one place - the lab, and the only time I got to use them was for doing some basic accounting applications.

20 years later and things have changed so much outside but still stayed the same in the classroom.

Recently on echalk the denizens were discussing the role of the computer teacher and whether they will eventually be phased out. It really depends on your view but here's how I think it will go (re posted on echalk).

We have a continuum with traditional subjects.

With abstract knowledge/understanding based subjects (such as Maths and English Lit) at one end and Product/Process based subjects (English and Industrial workshop) at the other, with other subjects spaced out in between. The question here is where does computing fit in... Comp Sci down one end, Robotics at the other and game making in the middle perhaps?

Actually the more I think about it English as a subject fits computing in schools much better than the old Pen analogy.
English is used in just about every subject to a certain degree to read, process and output data, we are now moving to a point where computers are used in every subject (one hopes) to a certain degree either to read, process or output data.

English Lit=Comp Sci English=AIT English+subject=Computers+subject.

"computer" teachers will teach the first two much like English teachers share the English/ English Lit classes. Much like the support staff for literacy and numeracy there will be integrators for subjects other than computing to help teachers use the technology effectively.

Sorry this post is a bit of a ramble and I think it needs to be a bit more focused - I'll work on it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Robotics Competition

Keepad Interactive will be at the iNexus National Robotics competition at Curting University on the 5th of December. Not only will we be bringing our robots for kids to play with and program, we will also be supplying Turningpoint Keepads for the audience to vote for their favorite robot in the competition. So if you, your family or your class is interested in seeing some amazing robots head down to Curtin next Saturday.

For more details and to register go to

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Free maths worksheets

Even I have to admit that there are times where drill and practice is required in maths. Or sometimes you just want to use some examples.

Enter This website helps you create worksheets for most grades up to about year 7. You can either save them as jpg or pdf or print them. If you have ebeam installed you can even print to eBeam Scrapbook as a background that you can then draw on and mark up as required for a demonstration.

Making up maths worksheets with all the grids, nets, shapes and number lines can be really painful in MS Word - especially if you want then to be precise enough for the students to actually measure. Dynamic Paper from the illuminations website might just be what you are looking for. There is a whole slew of resources for maths teachers there. Go nuts.

I'll repost one of my other favourite literacy worksheet makers - This not only does the worksheet for you based on the text that you give it - it even writes your lesson plan.

Good music education software is hard to come by - This looks like it will fit the needs of most primary teachers. LenMus

LenMus is a free program for learning music. LenMus program allows you to focus on specific skills and exercises, on both theory and aural training. The different activities can be customized to meet your needs, and it provides interactive feedback until mastery of each concept is achieved. It also includes an score editor.
And if like me you have no musical ability at all you might want to try out this grid based synth. Be careful you could spend hours on this.

Sorry I haven't been blogging lately but the boss came over for a visit from the emerald city and things got really busy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fast eBeam Introduction

Just a quick introduction to eBeam for those who like their sound bites. Makes me want to make a video myself.