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Let’s Get Agile!

Agile 2Agile

Recent blog posts nationally and internationally have called upon educators to consider changing their practices to meet the needs of students for a digital age.

In Australia Geoff Masters, Chief Executive of the Australian Council for Educational Research, has identified the following five challenges to improve Australian education:


“1.Raising the professional status of teaching

A first challenge is to raise the status of teaching as a career choice, to attract more able people into teaching and to develop teaching as a knowledge-based profession.

Meeting this first challenge requires an understanding of why teaching is currently not more attractive, what high-performing countries have done to raise the status of teaching, and what strategies are likely to make teaching a more highly regarded profession and sought-after career in Australia.

2.Reducing disparities between Australian schools

A second challenge is to reduce the disparity between the schooling experiences of students in Australia’s most and least advantaged schools.

Meeting this second challenge depends on identifying and implementing policies – including school funding policies – capable of reducing disparities between Australia’s schools.

3.Designing a 21st-century curriculum

A third challenge is to re-design the school curriculum to better prepare students for life and work in the 21st century.

Today’s world is vastly different from that of 50 years ago. And the pace of change is accelerating, with increasing globalisation; advances in technology, communications and social networking; greatly increased access to information; an explosion of knowledge; and an array of increasingly complex social and environmental issues. The world of work also is undergoing rapid change with greater workforce mobility, growth in knowledge-based work, the emergence of multi-disciplinary work teams engaged in innovation and problem solving, and a much greater requirement for continual workplace learning. The school curriculum must attempt to equip students for this significantly changed and changing world.

Meeting this third challenge requires a significant rethink of the school curriculum. Objectives should include giving greater priority to the skills and attributes required for life and work in the 21st century – including skills in communicating, creating, using technologies, working in teams and problem solving – and developing students’ deep understandings of essential disciplinary concepts and principles and their ability to apply these understandings to complex, engaging real-world problems.

4.Promoting flexible learning arrangements focused on growth

A fourth challenge is to provide more flexible learning arrangements in schools to better meet the needs of individual learners.

The organization of schools and schooling also has been largely unchanged for decades. Although composite classes are common, students tend to be grouped into year levels, by age, and to progress automatically with their age peers from one year of school to the next. A curriculum is developed for each year of school, students are placed in mixed-ability classes, teachers deliver the curriculum for the year level they are teaching, and students are assessed and graded on how well they perform on that curriculum.

Meeting this fourth challenge depends on more flexible ways of personalizing teaching and learning – for example, by using technology to better target individuals’ current levels of achievement and learning needs – and on defining learning success and failure in terms of the progress, or growth, that individuals make over time, regardless of their starting points. In this way, excellent progress becomes an expectation of every student, including those who are already more advanced.

  1. Identifying and meeting the needs of children on trajectories of low achievement

A fifth challenge is to identify as early as possible children who are at risk of falling behind in their learning and to address their individual learning needs.

Meeting this fifth challenge depends on better ways of: identifying children at risk of being locked into trajectories of low achievement at the earliest possible ages; enhancing levels of school readiness; diagnosing learning difficulties upon entry to school; and intervening intensively during the early years of school to address individual learning needs to give as many students as possible the chance of successful ongoing learning.”

In addressing these challenges schools need models of practice, professional development and evidence of effective strategies. Schools need support in redesigning the way they teach, the way they construct learning spaces and deliver technology solutions.

An international model was shared by UKEdChat posting about a Swedish school which has transformed the way it is providing learning. The blog post described how the Free School in south Stockholm, Sweden has redesigned how students learn, preparing them for the digital future they will experience. The school opened in August 2011, welcoming children from the preparation class (6 years of age) to year five years (11 years of age and will grow to include year nine.

The Principal, Jannie Jeppesen says the educators have given each child school days filled with a strong set of values and belief in their own capacity. This has created confidence to experiment, to think innovatively and to work with motivation. Several pioneering projects over the years have attracted attention. It was obvious to choose to work with the world around us. Parents, cultural institutions and businesses have contributed, and they have also learned something from the children in various projects.

The design of the school was based on what actually happens when we learn, a difference from traditionally built school buildings. It stimulated the children’s curiosity and creativity; it offered reflection and cooperation in the school, in mobile teams and on the web. The students were equipped with the latest digital technology in a rapidly changing world.

When we look into the future, we need an understanding of what skills are required in the future and the knowledge of how we learn.

The blog post reported that the school accommodates pupils speaking 26 languages, and that 84% of Grade 6 pupils passed the maths assessment, achieving better results than the Swedish national average, although the principal acknowledges that it is still too early to generalise.

Their promotional video shows the inside of the school, showing the relaxed, calm and technological nature of the school.


Recently to assist schools, Professor Stephen Heppell, Juliette and Melissa Heppell have released a draft of “Agile Learning Spaces a user manual for teachers and students”. It is a ‘living document’ asking for input from other educators around the world. It notes that “ all around the world new agile spaces and zones and nooks and new approaches to seating and organisation are appearing because they make better spaces and places for creating, engaging learning. Engaged minds achieve… but how to use those spaces, how to work together as teachers and students in those spaces- and how to avoid gainsayers trying to drag us backwards and losing all the advantages the spaces can offer? A user manual is needed. This primer in the form of a user manual has been written for the new integrated science learning spaces at Wesley College in Western Australia’s Perth but it should help others everywhere too”.


As many schools, jurisdictions are changing the way they are delivering education, redesigning learning spaces personalizing learning and embracing CYOB ( Choose Your Own Technologies ) teachers need to be supported to be able to change their practices to create learning in these environments.

These are significant but exciting challenges which can be solved by sharing knowledge of best practices, listening to student voice and supporting teacher professional learning.

ELECTROBOARD Education has assisted many schools in the redesign of their learning spaces by using state of the art technology. Our training academy can also support teachers to use these technologies effectively for teaching and learning in a digital age. https://www.education.electroboard.com.au/training


Become a 21st century teacher!



In her blog ,Tsisana Palmer describes  15 characteristics of a 21st-century teacher:

  1. Learner-Centered Classroom and Personalized Instructions

When students are allowed to make their own choices, they own their learning, increase intrinsic motivation, and put in more effort — an ideal recipe for better learning outcomes!

  1. Students as Producers

When given a chance, students can produce beautiful and creative blogs, movies, or digital stories that they feel proud of and share with others!

  1. Learn New Technologies

In order to be able to offer students choices, having one’s own hands-on experience and expertise will be useful.

  1. Go Global

Teaching students how to use the tools in their hands to “visit” any corner of this planet will hopefully make us more knowledgeable and sympathetic.

  1. Be Smart and Use Smart Phones

Different students have different needs when it comes to help with new vocabulary or questions; therefore, there is no need to waste time and explain something that perhaps only one or two students would benefit from. Instead, teaching students to be independent and know how to find answers they need [on their own devices] makes the class a different environment!

  1. Blog

Even beginners of English can see the value of writing for real audience and establishing their digital presence.

  1. Go Digital

Sharing links and offering digital discussions as opposed to a constant paper flow allows students to access and share class resources in a more organized fashion.

  1. Collaborate

Technology allows collaboration between teachers and students. Creating digital resources, presentations, and projects together with other educators and students will make classroom activities resemble the real world. Collaboration globally can change our entire experience!

  1. Use Twitter Chat

Share research and ideas, and stay current with issues and updates in the field. .. grow professionally and expand our knowledge.

  1. Connect

Connect with like-minded individuals. Again, today’s tools allow us to connect anyone, anywhere, anytime. Have a question for an expert or colleague? Simply connect via social media: follow, join, ask, or tell!

  1. Project-Based Learning

Today’s students should develop their own driving questions, conduct their research, contact experts, and create final projects to share all using devices already in their hands. All they need from their teacher is guidance!

  1. Build Your Positive Digital Footprint

Maintaining professional behavior both in class and online will help build positive digital footprint and model appropriate actions for students.

  1. Code

 As a pencil or pen were “the tools” of the 20th-century, making it impossible to picture a teacher not capable to operate with it, today’s teacher must be able to operate with today’s pen and pencil, i.e., computers.

  1. Innovate

Expand your teaching toolbox and try new ways you have not tried before, such as teaching with social media or replacing textbooks with web resources. Not for the sake of tools but for the sake of students!

  1. Keep Learning

As new ways and new technology keep emerging, learning and adapting is essential. The good news is: it’s fun, and even 20 min a day will take you a long way!

At ELECTROBOARD Education we can help you! Connect, collaborate and Go Global with our video conferencing events.  Many of them are project based and require students to be producers of digital content.

Our website has examples of digital content for you to use in your classroom. These lessons have been developed in Prowise Presenter an innovative cloud based software that will help you connect  with your students on any device.

Our Training Academy provides PD for  teachers  to learn new  technologies for the classroom. Contact your Education Consultant for support to become a 21st century teacher!

Inspiring Innovative Learning

Inspire Innovate #2

The NSW Department of Education and Communities  recently held a major conference as part of their Leading and Innovating Change  Conference Series


The truly inspiring aspect of this conference was the deep work of the public school workshop leaders  who demonstrated how they have embraced technologies to engage students and enhance learning.

The teachers demonstrated how they were:

  • Implementing whole school improvement strategies to implement change
  • Using iPads effectively across the curriculum for learning
  • Creating new ways of learning through their BYOD solutions
  • Using interactive technologies to engage students with high quality digital content
  • Embracing the Makers Movement and 3D printing
  • Implementing Games based learning and Minecraft
  • Designing learning spaces for 21st century learning
  • Setting up KidsMeets and Coding Clubs
  • Collaborating using video conferencing beyond the school
  • Connecting using social networking tools
  • Using cloud based software.

Inspire Innovate

These  workshops illustrate that public schools are at the forefront of innovations in learning. The power of teachers sharing in this way and creating collaborative communities to build new knowledge about practices is a very important aspect in ensuring quality teaching.

It was a privilege to be part of this event and to continue supporting teachers who are passionate about learning.

ELECTROBOARD Education to launch in 2015

EE website 2

In 2015 teachers across Australia will be able to access our services from our new website. Our services were previously provided via our website www.seeshareshape which will be redesigned and launched as ELECTROBOARD Education to make it easier  to access:

  • Our resources
  • Our events
  • Our training
  • Our products

ELECTROBOARD has been responsible for training thousands of Australian teachers to use technologies such as Apple iPads, interactive whiteboards and video conferencing effectively in the classroom. We have developed digital teaching resources, accredited training courses and a calendar of video conferencing events aligned to the Australian Curriculum and the Australian Professional  Teaching Standards. We have provided face-to-face training, webinars, master classes and conferences to build the capacity of Australian teachers to use technology in their classrooms.

Our Video Conferencing Events Program partners with some of Australia’s most prestigious institutions such as the Sydney Opera House, the Australian Centre of Moving Image, the National Film and Sound Archive, Sydney Olympic Park Authority, the National Maritime Museum and Musica Viva. We have worked with leading children’s authors such the Australian Children’s Laureate, Jackie French and Libby Hathorn and content providers such as the NRL, Fizzics Education to bring expertise into classrooms across the nation.

In 2015, we will continue to distribute our termly newsletter https://www.seeshareshape.com.au/see/newsletter.aspx

and Connect Me to more than 28,000 educators rebadged to reflect ELECTROBOARD Education and to assist teachers to register for video conference events or professional development activities. Our VC Events Calendar will also be upgraded to make it easier for teachers to search for VC events and virtual excursions. In 2014 more than 15,000 students attended our events and we look forward to more participating in in 2015.

ELECTROBOARD will continue to bring to schools the best of breed technologies to support quality teaching in the classroom. We are proud to have brought to Australia this year the Magic Planet, Prowise and Arrive technologies which enable new ways to view and share digital content, collaborate and use cloud based technologies. Our new ELECTROBOARD Education website will include a Product section to keep educators abreast of latest technologies and case studies of how they are being used in 21st century learning spaces.

Our social media presence including, this blog, FaceBook, Pinterest and Twitter will also be upgraded, so stay tuned for all these exciting changes in 2015!

A Blue Print for Learning Spaces

One to one

EDUTOPIA ‘s, blog post “Why Learning Spaces Matter “ by Ramona Persaud,

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/why-learning-space-matters-ramona-persaud refers to the work of Prakash Nair, “Schools are one building type that we’re all familiar with because we’ve all been to school,” explains Prakash Nair, president and founding partner of Fielding Nair Architects, specialists in school design. “So we have this mental image of what a school building is supposed to look like.” Nair urges everyone to reach beyond our mental images of school, and envision “what a school could be, as opposed to what it has always been.”

Harvard Press also announced the publication of Prakash Nair ‘s latest book to be published in October http://hepg.org/hep-home/books/blueprint-for-tomorrow

Nair has also has been advising Australia’s Victorian school design for many years http://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/principals/infrastructure/Pages/designnair.aspx

His company Fielding Nair International has created a list of 20 different modalities of learning:

  1.   Independent Study 2.   Peer Tutoring 3.   Team Collaboration 4.   One-on-One learning with a teacher 5.   Lecture format – Teacher directed 6.   Project-based learning 7.   Technology with mobile computers 8.   Distance learning 9.   Internet-based research 10.  Student presentation 11.  Performance-based learning 12.  Seminar-style instruction 13.  Inter-disciplinary learning 14.  Naturalist learning 15.  Social/emotional/spiritual learning 16.  Art-based learning 17.  Storytelling 18.  Design-based learning 19.  Team teaching/learning 20.  Play-based learning

This comprehensive list of learning modalities is useful for schools when they plan their learning spaces and consider their technology strategy to enable these forms of learning. Nair talks about “shells” within existing structures that can be transformed to make a difference to the learning environments of students. Each teacher’s learning space can be a shell which can through small changes inspire and motivate students.

As schools embrace BYOT policies students will bring their own technologies such as iPads into these “shells’. Teachers will need support to understand how these student devices can be integrated with other classroom technologies, such as interactive flat panels, video conferencing, 3D Printers to enable all the modalities of learning.

Prowise, the Netherland’s company addresses many of these modalities in the design of their Touch Screens, software and lift systems. Their products enable most aspects of the 20 modalities, because the interactive flat panels are themselves mobile, can be raised and flipped for teacher instruction, peer tutoring, team collaboration, teacher directed, internet-based research, student presentation, performance-based learning, seminar-style instruction and inter-disciplinary learning. Through Prowise Cloud based software students can collaborate with their iPads and with any digital screen wherever they are.

As schools change their learning spaces it is important they carefully consider the technologies to be integrated and how they will build the capacity of their teachers to support the modalities of learning. For more information about how technologies can be utilised within your learning space and the training you may require. Contact your ELECTROBOARD Consultant or email education @electroboard.com.au


ANZAC diaries meet Mini iPads!


Recently The Coalition of Knowledge Building schools conducted a student consultation with the NSW State Library and included students from Ravenswood School for Girls, Kambala School, Monte S’ Angelo Mercy College, Granville Boys High, Santa Sabina College, Ashfield Boys High. The students were asked to respond to the Library’s latest exhibition “Life Interrupted: Personal Diaries from World War 1”, in order for the Library to understand what they found fascinating, interesting and significant in the exhibition and what they would like to learn more about. To undertake this consultation they used mini iPads to make notes and take photos of the parts of the exhibition they found interesting and to produce a key note to present their findings to the whole group.

This outstanding exhibition http://ww1.sl.nsw.gov.au/events/life-interrupted-personal-diaries-world-war-i is a display of hundreds of diaries from World War 1. The diaries are beautifully displayed and demonstrate the diversity of their authors. The exhibition focusses on this concept and builds the story of the experiences of these soldier authors.

The Education Team at the State Library use cutting edge technology to engage students with the rich resources of the Library. They use video conferencing to reach a greater number of students and innovative interactive technologies to work with students who visit their Global Learning Space.

School excursions provided by the Team no longer use “booklets ’ or handouts but rather students are provided with mini iPads with key questions or tasks to lead students through the exhibitions, enabling them to create a response and share the products of their learning with their classmates during and after the event.

 The “Kids consult” process led by Professor Susan Groundwater-Smith is a way for the State Library and other cultural institutions who are members of the Coalition of Knowledge Building Schools to understand how students engage and learn through their exhibitions.

Sharing their reflections of “Life Interrupted” the students commented that reading the personal writing of the soldiers’ diaries demonstrated their diversity as people yet their commonality and shared response to their horrific circumstances. Students were deeply moved by the drawings they found within the diaries and the young age of the soldiers who were in some cases the same age as themselves.

Australian students are privileged to have cultural institutions with such highly experienced and innovative Education Teams who use the latest technologies to engage them in the rich content and expertise housed within their institutions. Many of them provide video conference events, face to face excursions and outstanding digital content through their websites.

To find out more about virtual excursions go to https://www.seeshareshape.com.au/share/VC/virtualexcursions.aspx

 and http://www.virtualexcursionsaustralia.com.au/





The Makers Empire Australian Learning Program held a video conference event with teachers from 4 Australian schools.The event was designed to increase the knowledge of teachers about the use of 3D printing and creating 3D objects. The Makers Empire Australian Learning Program http://makersempire.com/ was launched in July.

Internationally schools are interested in using 3D printers. Recently South Korea announced that it will provide 3D printers to its 5800 schools. Many schools in Australia have already purchased 3D printers but sometimes students do not have the skills to utilise CAD systems and to design for 3D. Makers Empire has solved this problem for schools by creating an App that even very young students can use to design in 3D and produce the results of their creativity and innovation using a 3D printer. Makers Empire has worked in schools such North Adelaide Primary school and Westminster Preparatory school where the students were able to learn about the design process from concept to production.

The team has built an entire learning program for schools which includes:
• Makers Empire 3D design software
• Lessons plans aligned to the Australian Curriculum for years F-7.
• A teachers’ portal for teachers to see students work and download models
• On-line resources,
• Instruction manuals and FAQs.

Lapman Leung and Jon Soong from the Makers Empire Team presented to schools via video conference from ELECTROBOARD’s St Leonards Office. Teachers from Victoria and NSW schools were fascinated to understand all aspects of 3D printing and to see how students could undertake this design program in their classrooms.
Supported by ELECTROBOARD’s Education Consultant Lizzie Cooper, Makers Empire used a range of technologies including a document camera to focus on the models students have created using the App and a 3D printer.

Using video conferencing technology in this way the Makers Empire Team were able to reach more teachers across Australia and spread the knowledge of this outstanding resource. The Makers Empire Team is based in South Australia and will be able to use the ELECTROBOARD office in Adelaide to deliver future video conferences.

Look for more exciting opportunities like this on our Video Conference Events Calendar https://www.seeshareshape.com.au/share/VC/virtualexcursions.aspx

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