#communityconnect: Using mobile devices to promote higher order thinking skills.

Australia eSeries Community Connect Webinar

Sick of using iPads for skill and drill activities? Are your students using their mobile devices for only word processing and reading eBooks?

In this session I’ll be facilitating a discussion about using mobile devices, such as the iPad, for activities requiring higher order thinking skills.

During the webinar we’ll look at:

  • Blooms Taxonomy and Blooms Digital Taxonomy
  • Writing Learning Objectives suitable for mobile devices
  • Selecting and evaluating apps for applying, analysing, evaluating and creating


WHEN: Thursday 13th June 2013

WHERE: Blackboard Collaborate 

TIME: 8pm Melbourne/Sydney/Brisbane, Australia time (GMT+11)

#ozseries Community Connect: Get Creative and Productive

Come along and join Kathryn Matthews and myself in Community Connect tonight for some creative fun with apps and ipads. First up we’ll have a show and tell about your current favorites then we’ll take a look at some productive and creative things to do with your iPad.

Turn your photo into a work of art, create a colourful QR code and convert your iPad into a scanner.

WhereBlackboard Collaborate link to tonight’s session.

When: Hope to see you all at 8pm-9pm AEST

Prism HD

At times I’ve stumbled across iPad apps that leave me speechless due to their beauty and simplicity.  Prism HD is one of those apps.

Seeing it reminded me of being in a darkened science lab with Year 9 students, plastic lenses and a ray box between 2, trying to get them enthused about splitting light into it’s component colours.

What does the app do?

It’s a modern version of the light box and plastic lens.

Prism HD simulates rays of light passing through glass prisms in a way that’s sure to visually stimulate students during their study of light. Reflection, refraction, dispersion and transmission can all be investigated while students create beautiful rainbows with their ipad, ipod or iphone.

Take a look at this short introduction by Orion Elenzil.

“A short piece introducing the app “Prism HD”, a realtime simulation of light passing through prisms. Several scenes showing the accuracy and beauty of the app are shown, as well as its inspiration from the natural world.”

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/39276049 w=500&h=375]

Curriculum Links?

Why not use this app anytime when investigating natural light and rainbows or angles?

Otherwise, try it out when investigating these concepts from the The Australian Curriculum. This is just a suggestion, I’m sure there are many opportunities for students to learn about these concepts elsewhere in the curriculum.

  • Year 5 Science, Physical Sciences: Light from a source forms shadows and can be absorbed, reflected and refracted (ACSSU080)
  • Year 9 Science, Physical Sciences: Energy transfer through different mediums can be explained using wave and particle models (ACSSU182)
  • Year 6 Mathematics, Measurement and Geometry: Investigate, with and without digital technologies, angles on a straight line, angles at a point and vertically opposite angles. Use results to find unknown angles(ACMMG141)

App Details

  • available in the App Store on sale for $0.99
  • designed for iPads, iPhone and iPod touch
  • easy to use
  • engaging
  • take screenshots to use for lab reports

Have fun with this app, I’d love to know how you and your students use it.

Caught by Surprise

Last week I had the pleasure of co-presenting with Junita Lyon and Kathryn Matthews, in Community Connect, one of the Australian e-Series set of webinars.

Titled “Heading Down the iPad Road” this webinar was intended for people new to using iPads.  By sharing experiences, presenting our favorite apps and having a closeup look at an iPad, we hoped to explore how to manage workflow efficiently.

What we hadn’t anticipated was the number of participants who attended, their diverse backgrounds and expectations for content along with the large range of questions asked.

Here’s a summary of most of the topics raised:

  • using iPads with small groups or whole class
  • interactive ipad activities for class
  • do I need one?
  • how will it help me study?
  • are they any better than tablets?
  • easily shared or best personalised for one user?
  • passwords and settings
  • credit cards and privacy
  • learning to read, finding eBooks
  • replacing textbooks with iBooks
  • creating and publishing iBooks
  • iCloud
  • annotating pdf files
  • best apps for education
  • dictation and translation
  • iPads for Special Education, the elderly, kindergarden, primary, secondary and tertiary students
  • browsers and flash
  • pedagogy and best practice
  • app prices android vs apple
  • Microsoft Office on the iPad
  • integration with Apple TV
  • air streaming
  • file organisation with Dropbox and Evernote
  • distance education
  • using iTunes
  • iPads for assessment

So were we, 3 volunteers running a show and tell session about how we use our iPads, overwhelmed?


This wonderful experience helped us realise a number of things:

  • people from all sectors of education drop into Community Connect webinars
  • we cannot meet the needs of everyone who drops in, but we can gather information and plan our sessions accordingly
  • there is a thirst for knowledge about iPads and tablets
  • many skills for mobile teaching and learning are generic
  • meeting online in this casual, informal way provides a wonderful opportunity to learn
  • serendipitous learning occurs in webinars that allow interactivity
  • participants have a great deal to offer
  • sharing ideas saves time and opens eyes

I could bang on for ages here, but that will do. Yes, we were caught by surprise but what a great learning experience we had. If you’re interested here is a recording of “Heading Down the iPad Road”.

Can you give us some feedback please? How can we improve our Community Connect webinars to meet your needs? Is this style of learning useful for you, why?

iPad on Holiday: Looking Back

As a tool for engaging students in maths tutorials during 2011, the iPad has been a great success. My plan for this year is to use the 3G network  in order to avoid the problem of internet availability when moving from house to house.
Over the holidays I put a 3G micro-sim card, purchased from a well known provider for $30, to the test. For this price I had 3GB of data to be used in 30 days.
What will 3GB of data allow me to do during a two week holiday to the New South Wales coast? Read on…

Click the icons for more information about each app.


Everyday I was in touch with my daughter, travelling around Europe, via Facebook messages. I also uploaded images, taken with the iPad, to her Facebook wall.
I used Twitter via the HootSuite app to share my “iPad on holiday” trial by uploading iPad images, sound recordings and a VoiceThread.



On those long evenings, while my husband was on the other end of a fishing rod, I enjoyed catching up on some reading using Evernote, Diigo, Read It Later and Feedly. Please note…real books are the best way to go for tossing into the beach bag and lying around in the sand. I read three great paperback novels and wouldn’t have it any other way.



Surfing the internet for cricket scores, news, fishing tips etc… was a great way for my husband to accept the presence of an iPad on our holiday. As for me, finding new apps, checking and sending emails, adding to my Google calender was all possible with 3G.


I’ve been disappointed by blogging apps until I came across Blogsy. Without stressing too much over how to use it I was able to create and upload a post, including a collage created earlier on the iPad, while sitting by the camp fire.



Snapseed, a photo enhancing app, was is a joy to use. The iPad isn’t ideal for taking photos while strolling along the beach in bright sunlight. Having said that, a powerful app like Snapseed is perfect for fiddling with images before using them in a creative project.
Images were easy to place in a collage using Frame-Magic or into a slideshow using Animoto.
Much to my delight I was able to create a Voicethread and receive comments by uploading it to Twitter and Facebook.
After a quick play with Book Creator a glossy eBook about my holiday,containing images, text and voice, appeared in iBooks.
Finally, by using SoundCloud I now have an audio recording of bell birds, ocean waves and a thunderstorm to play throughout the year when I’m in need of a holiday. Using the 3G network these recordings were uploaded to Facebook where my daughter, in Paris, could be reminded of her Favorited camping spot.


  • after heavy use (which includes Mr18 on Facebook), only 2GB of data was used
  • I had fast internet connectivity most of the time
  • every app worked as expected
  • the iPad needed regular charging in the car
  • when working with an iPad in the field take a quality, easy to manage protective cover and cleaning cloth
  • the camera is good for recording a trip but I much prefer a quality digital camera for serious photography
  • I will investigate the cost of using 3G pre-paid for a year…then give it a go.

Has anyone used the 3G network with their ipad2? Do you think it is a viable option for connecting to the internet and do you have any tips?

iPad on Holiday

My iPad has made it on holidays for a trial run…to see how it performs out in the “field” using a 3G connection.

About this post:

  • I’m lying in my tent writing it
  • 3G connection via micro-sim card
  • Using the Blogsy app for the first time
  • Images shot using iPad camera
  • Collage created using Frame Magic app
  • It’s a trial run to test these apps

Which blogging app for iPad do you prefer?