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Use the “Science of Learning” to choose EdTech


A recent paper http://www.deansforimpact.org/program.html

published by the Deans for Impact summarizes the existing research from cognitive science relating to how students learn  and connects this to practical implications for teaching and learning.

The paper sets out 6 main questions related to student learning:

  1. How do student understand new ideas?
  2. How do students learn and retain new information?
  3. How do students solve problems?
  4. How does learning transfer to new situations in or outside of the classroom?
  5. What motivates students to learn?
  6. What are common misconceptions about how students think and learn?

Addressing these questions when choosing what technology to use to advance student learning can create a more refined set of decisions.

For each question the paper lists cognitive principles and practical implications for the classroom. The cognitive principles underpinning question 1 state that students learn new ideas by reference to ideas they already know. The implications for classroom practice are that there should be a well sequenced curriculum to ensure that students have the prior knowledge they need to master new ideas. It is crucial that teachers direct student attention to the similarities between existing knowledge and what is to be learned.

Students’ understanding of a new idea can be impeded if they are confronted with too much information at once. To assist with this teachers can use scaffolds to show the step by step process to perform a task or solve a problem.

Teachers often use multiple modalities to convey and idea e.g. they will speak whilst showing a graph however the report recommends that care is taken when showing for instance a slide or graphic that what you say as a teacher matches the information in the graph.

This advice is very useful for teachers in the creation of digital content. Using content creation software like Prowise Presenter a teacher can make explicit carefully paced explanations, provide modelling and examples so that students are not overwhelmed.

Teachers can attach accurate audio files to graphic information that students can view together or replay anywhere or anytime.

The content can also be differentiated by providing links to a range of content removing the idea that content is limited to age. Giving students access to a range of quality information is one of the best features of technology.

2. How do students learn and retain new information?

The first cognitive principle underpinning this question states that information is often withdrawn from memory just as it went in. We usually want students to remember what information means and why it is important, so they should think about meaning when they encounter to-be-remembered material.

Implications for classroom practice suggested by the paper recommend that teachers ask students to explain how or why something has happened or for students to organise material.

Using lesson creation software like Presenter teachers can design content for students to sequence efficiently many times. Using the Pro Connect function teachers can share their screen and ask for explanations from students. They can provide students with a set of sentences for students to order to construct meaning and re-share with the class. Narrative/stories and mnemonics which are particularly helpful can also be created digitally.

The second cognitive principles states that practice is essential to learning new facts, but not all practice is equivalent. Teachers can space practice over time, with content being reviewed across weeks or months, to help students remember the content over the long-term. When content is developed digitally and stored in the cloud teachers can return to student work as many times as required.

Teachers can explain to students that trying to remember something makes memory more long-lasting than other forms of studying. Teachers can use low- or no-stakes quizzes in class to do this, and students can use self-tests.

Using the ProConnect feature in Prowise Presenter teachers can make quick quizzes on the fly or at the point of need. They can use games and tools to also assist in memorising critical facts and figures.

Teachers can interleave (i.e., alternate) practice of different types of content. For example, if students are learning four mathematical operations, it’s more effective to interleave practice of different problem types, rather than practice just one type of problem, then another type of problem, and so on.

EdTech enables interleaving in a way not possible before. Quickly searching via YouTube or Google teachers can find images, videos and interviews podcasts to interleave these different types of content throughout their lessons.

3. How do students solve problems?

The cognitive principles underpinning this question state that each subject area has some set of facts that, if committed to long-term memory, aids problem-solving by freeing working memory resources and illuminating contexts in which existing knowledge and skills can be applied. The size and content of this set varies by subject matter.

The implications for classroom practice are that teachers will need to teach key sets of facts. For example, the most obvious (and most thoroughly studied) sets of facts are math facts and letter-sound pairings in early years. For math, memory is much more reliable than calculation. Math facts (e.g., 8 x 6 = ?) are embedded in other topics (e.g., long division). A child who stops to calculate may make an error or lose track of the larger problem. The advantages of learning phonics for reading are well established

There is a plethora of apps, Pinterest Pins,  games, content which will do this for teachers and enable students to individually rehearse their skills on their own devices. Tools within the Prowise Presenter software can engage student’s individually, around a table or across the whole class students with fun collaborative activities to learn facts.

The second cognitive principle states that effective feedback is often essential to acquiring new knowledge and skills.

Good feedback is:

  • Specific and clear;
  • Focused on the task rather than the student; and
  • Explanatory and focused on improvement rather than merely verifying performance.

Using the share screen function in Prowise Presenter teachers are able to share their screens with all student devices enabling feedback which is “specific and clear” and focussed on the task. When students share their responses back to the teachers for collaboration, shared commentary there is an enhanced capacity through the use of technology too quickly demonstrate strategies for improvement.

4.How does learning transfer to new situations in or outside of the classroom?

The first cognitive principle here states that the transfer of knowledge or skills to a novel problem requires both knowledge of the problem’s context and a deep understanding of the problem’s underlying structure.

Classroom implications are that teachers can ensure students have sufficient background knowledge to appreciate the context of the problem. Using technology and digital content teachers can illustrate contextual information in multiple ways not possible when only using print.

The second underpinning cognitive principle states that we understand new ideas via examples, but it’s often hard to see the unifying underlying concepts in different examples. Within the classroom teachers can have students compare problems with different surface structures that share the same underlying structure. For example, a student may learn to calculate the area of a rectangle via an example of word problem using a table top. This student may not immediately recognize this knowledge is relevant in a word problem that asks a student to calculate the area of a soccer field. By comparing the problems, this practice helps students perceive and remember the underlying structure. This can be easily facilitated with digital content.

For multi-step procedures, teachers can encourage students to identify and label the sub steps required for solving a problem. This practice makes students more likely to recognize the underlying structure of the problem and to apply the problem-solving steps to other problems. Many lesson creation programs have labelling functions so students can be easily supported to do this.

Teachers can alternate concrete examples (e.g., word problems) and abstract representations (e.g., mathematical formulas) to help students recognize the underlying structure of problems.

All of this can be more easily achieved using digital content, because teachers can see the impacts on learning of the examples they have chosen, they can then save the most effective concrete examples and build up banks of alternate examples.

Questions 5 and 6 apply to building positive mindsets in classrooms and ensuring that teachers understand misconceptions or unsubstantiated theories of learning.

Papers such as this which are readily available on-line for teachers enrich their own professional learning and provide guidance for how they design for learning within their classrooms and make effective decisions in regards to using EdTech.

For more information about using EdTech in your classroom contact our ELB Academy.


270 Preservice Teachers @ Macquarie University access Prowise Presenter!


270 Pre-Service teachers will have access to Prowise Presenter for the duration of their Early Years degree courses at Macquarie University. Today the first two groups were provided with access to their accounts and shown some of the features of the lesson creation software.

This is a very exciting opportunity for the 270 Pre-Service teachers who like all teachers are expected to design digital lessons for teaching and learning. The quality of their lessons will be assessed by their lecturers during the years of their training. The Pre-Service teachers will also want to use their digital lessons during their practicums.

However in the passed the success of using digital lessons  designed during training depended on  a number of conditions eg whether the  educational setting had the same hardware, software, or even the same versions of software. The question of whether the digital lessons could be used on any of the devices at the practicum site usually made the deployment of lessons very difficult.

Prowise Presenter is the perfect solution for Pre-Service teachers. As a cloud-based software there is no installation required, is automatically upgraded and can be used on any device anywhere .These young teachers will be able to use the lessons they have designed on any web-enabled device.

Once they have graduated from Macquarie University they will be able to take their lessons with them to their new place of employment using a variety of options. Prowise Presenter is a powerful tool for all teachers. They can save their digital lessons to a private folder and because it is stored in the cloud they can access their lessons at home or at any education setting on any web enabled device.  If they are working casually across a number of campuses or if there is a sudden room change as long as there is a web-enabled device they will be able to use Prowise Presenter.

Prowise is aware that Pre-Service teachers do not always have access to the latest technology so providing them with a Presenter account they are ensuring that these young teachers can be digital leaders when they participate in their practicums and when they finally graduate.

The Prowise Presenter software enables teachers to link to websites, YouTube videos and galleries of content. Teachers can also save their resources to the Global Community and Prowise currently has over 1,000,000 resources saved globally for teachers to access. There are games for learning, tools for assessment and for teaching coding.

These teachers will also have access to ProConnect another very  important element of the software which enables them to share their screens with any BYOD device in the classroom. Students can then interact with the content and re-share to the teachers ‘interactive screen their answers and ideas for collaboration.

Learn more about Prowise Presenter here www.education.electroboard.com.au

Coding Workshops with Prowise

Vidoe workshop

Our recent ConnectMe offered teachers the opportunity to participate in workshops via video conference and learn how to use CodeWise to teach their students from Early Years to Primary how to code.

ConnectMe was distributed in the second week of term and many schools immediately responded and registered for the sessions. This demonstrates the interest teachers have in learning about coding and how to teach it.

The latest trends in the Horizon K-12 report http://go.nmc.org/projects

sees the “rise of coding as a literacy “ as a Short Term Trend and as part of their definition of an “accelerating technology to be adopted in K-12 education for the next two years”. The instant response from teachers to this PD offering is indicative of their accelerating interest. The report identifies other key trends:


  1. Key Trends Accelerating K-12 Educational Technology Adoption

Long-Term Trends: Accelerating technology adoption in K-12 Education for five or more years • Redesigning Learning Spaces • Rethinking How Schools Work

Mid-Term Trends: Accelerating technology adoption in K-12 Education for the next three to five years • Increasing Use of Collaborative Learning Approaches • Shift to Deeper Learning Approaches

Short-Term Trends: Accelerating technology adoption in K-12 Education for the next one to two years • Rise of Coding as a Literacy • Shift from Students as Consumers to Creators

  1. Significant Challenges Impeding K-12 Educational Technology Adoption

Solvable Challenges: Those which we both understand and know how to solve • Creating Authentic Learning Opportunities • Personalizing Learning

Difficult Challenges: Those we understand but for which solutions are elusive • Rethinking the Roles of Teachers • Scaling Teaching Innovations

Wicked Challenges: Those that are complex to even define, much less address • The Achievement Gap • The Digital Divide

III. Important Developments in Technology for K-12 Education

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less • Makerspaces • Online Learning

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years • Robotics • Virtual Reality

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years • Artificial Intelligence • Wearable Technology

At ELB Education we have also seen increasing interest in the way teachers are “designing their learning spaces” for their students. The Prowise 65 inch panel with the lift system is very popular. This interactive flat panel is mobile in the classroom and can be raised, lowered or tilted to become a table or a chart table. These different configurations make it possible for teachers to use the interactive flat panel in whatever pedagogical mode they wish transforming different parts of their learning spaces for different activities.

Using ProConnect which is part of the Prowise Presenter software they are  able to “Increase their Use of Collaborative Learning Approaches”. ProConnect enables teachers to share their content on the interactive flat panel with their students BYOD devices for greater collaboration and sharing. The software also includes tools for mindmapping and brainstorming as well as games for mathematics. These tools are easy to use but provide teachers with simple and effective was to increase collaboration in the classroom.

Join our video workshops and you can learn more.



Interacting with “Legends” via VC

Marnoo Primary

The ELB Education Video Conferencing Program enables students across Australia to interact with “legends” from a range of fields including  Science, Sport, the Arts and Primary Industries.

The Royal Botanic Garden’s, Mary Bell provides an outstanding video conference on seeds and sustainability. During the session students from Victoria’s Marnoo Primary school who had collected seed specimens from their area  were able to label and identify them throughout the session. The Royal Botanic Gardens has expert scientists who through their video conferencing program interact with schools across Australia.

Marnoo Primary’s Principal, Grant Seidler  via his school newsletter shared how

 The students participated in a virtual science lesson with Mary Bell from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney. The children learned about plant classification and identification. The lesson was very interesting and was enjoyed by all!

The NRL One Community Sporting “legends” also engaged students in their VC events. Their session NRL Wellbeing – Healthy Active Lifestyle was highly evaluated by schools. The schools indicated that the highlights of this VC were “the interactive games- PowerPoint and having the opportunity (for students) to interact speak to a legendary NRL player”. The session was commended for being  strongly aligned to the Australian curriculum.

Through Target 100’s VC events students engaged with a real  ‘livestock farmer’ and were able to learn about farming practices from an expert. Watching and interacting with live baby chicks through “All About Eggs” F-2 students also explored the life stages of animals.

Our Arts “legends” included Susanne Gervay author of “Bullying No Way” and SA Wakefield “Bottersnikes and Gumbles” and on April 4th students will be able to interact with legendary author David Williams through the Sydney Opera House video conferencing events!

It is a great support to teachers for students to engage with “legends” from the community who can enrich the learning in classrooms. Students not only from remote settings but also urban areas may not have access to the kinds of quality activities, digital resources and knowledge provided by our cultural institutions and partners.

All our content providers including Fizzics Education and Harper Collins link their activities to the Australian Curriculum and design their video conferencing events to be interactive. Students can ask questions of these legends, view high quality digital content shared on an interactive flat panel and engage in both cognitive and physical activities.

For many students seeing other students from other schools participating in the same activities  during the video conference adds an element of importance to their learning . To find out more about these VC events go to www.education.electroboard.com.au

Redesigning learning @BETT2016


As part of her keynote the UK Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said at London’s BETT Show that her government sees “technology as an aide and not a replacement for excellent teaching,” she told delegates, that technology would need to be “evidence-based and outcome driven” in order to get government backing. “Every young innovator should have access to the technology they need,” Morgan continued. “All our children should learn the benefits of technology.”
The Education Secretary sees “teachers as our most valuable resource for the highest quality education” and stated that the government would focus on developing top talent to teach computer science. These teachers would need to work with employers to upskill people for the future.
While she said access to the internet and search engines were “no substitute for knowledge”, she promoted the use of technology for assessment, “online and computerised testing could minimise teacher workload,” she said.
In his keynote Newcastle University’s Professor Sugata Mitra also pointed to the significant role of the teacher claiming however that in the UK “Schools’ teaching methods are out of date and irrelevant. Current teaching methods are “obsolete”, and pupils’ education should instead focus on technology.
Rather than teaching reading, writing and arithmetic, schools must focus on teaching children about “comprehension, communication and computation,” He claimed schools still have an environment that produces workers fit for the offices of 100 years ago where most people worked in isolation from each other.
Saying the working environment is now more about using technology and collaboration, Mitra accused schools of having failed to reflect these changes.
“Old teaching methods are obsolete and everyone accepts it is a problem,” he told delegates, adding that children can even learn by themselves, without needing a teacher to direct their efforts.
These supervisors led to further refinements that Mitra dubbed “self-organised learning environments. “The process of self-organised learning can by helped by an adult that admires the process,” he said.
Mitra added that schools’ current assessment system to examine pupils’ achievements looks “for identical responses from learners”. “Open-ended questions cannot be asked in such assessments, we need a new assessment system,” said Mitra.
He added that children ask why they cannot use their smartphones and tablets inside exam rooms, and warned that a fair evaluation of such a new assessment “is not possible by human examiners”. “More research on automated and continuous evaluation if open-ended questions and tasks is needed,”
Finally he claimed that schools must be redesigned to help children enjoy learning.
ELECTROBOARD Education brings to Australia the best technologies to assist schools redesign learning. For instance:
1. Featured BETT Award Winner Prowise http://bettawards.com/2016_finalists/
Prowise enhances learning in the classroom through high quality interactive content and collaborative technologies.
2. Nureva Span classroom collaboration a new product at BETT enables collaboration creative thinking.
Nureva Span combines a panoramic projector with a cloud-based service and personal apps. With this solution, students can capture their thoughts on personal devices and share them on an expansive canvas. They can then actively collaborate with classmates to group concepts, refine ideas and create deeper understanding.
Read more: http://www.bettshow.com/exhibitor/Nureva-Inc#ixzz3yD1SuyfH
We support teachers to implement these technologies through our Training Academy providing interactive digital content which aligns to the Australian curriculum and the ProConnect tools for assessment. For more information contact : trainingsupport@electroboard.com.au

Creating Innovative Learning Environments


This latest report from the OECD provides a clear framework for schools and systems to redesign schooling http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/schooling-redesigned_9789264245914-en

In an excellent forward it sets out the shift in education focussing on the fact that technological change is fast paced and schools need to be innovative. Schools need to focus on 21st century skills which will develop “versatilists”, people who will be able to have deep knowledge as well as being able to range across knowledge fields. “The more interdependent the world becomes, the more we rely on great collaborators and orchestrators who are able to join others in life, work and citizenship. Innovation, too, is now rarely the product of individuals working in isolation but an outcome of how we mobilise, share and link knowledge.

So schools need to prepare students for a world in which many people need to collaborate with people of diverse cultural origins, and appreciate different ideas, perspectives and values; a world in which people need to decide how to trust and collaborate across such differences; and a world in which their lives will be affected by issues that transcend national boundaries. Expressed differently ,schools need to drive a shift from a world where knowledge that is stacked up somewhere depreciating rapidly in value towards a world in which the enriching power of communication and collaborative flows is increasing.

In many schools around the world, teachers and school leaders are working hard to help learners develop these kinds of knowledge, skills and character attributes.” The learning principles that underpin success include making learning central, encouraging engagement, ensuring that learning is social and collaborative, that students understand themselves as learners, to be highly attuned to learner’s motivations and their individual differences. They also see schools having a strong emphasis on formative assessment and promoting horizontal connectedness across learning activities and subjects both with and beyond school.”

Schools are utilising Michael Fullans’ Big6Cs to achieve this ie Critical thinking, Character development, Communication, Collaboration and  Creativity.

For schools to become Innovative Learning Environments the following ILE  framework of C’s needs to be set:

  1. Cultural change there needs to be within the school a mindset that embraces innovation
  2. Cultural focus the schools needs to focus on one aspect of innovation because conventional approaches have not worked
  3. Capacity creation knowledge professional knowledge. A key cornerstone is for schools to understand what enhances learning in their context and then to be able to share those practices.
  4. Collaboration to sustain innovation the teachers in the school should work together to solve pedagogical problems and share practices – networked learning is fast becoming the most effective way to share and create knowledge.
  5. Communication technology platforms
  6. Using digital platforms to share practice is a critical enabler for Scholl to become innovative learning environments.  For example using twitter, Edmodo, blogs school portals, LMS tools common software for lesson creation and sharing
  7. Change Agents Within the schools there needs to be champions, mentors and coaches who support their colleagues as elbow consultants.

At Education Electroboard we have a range of products and services to assist schools to make these changes. Our products enable collaboration beyond the classroom walls and with cultural institutions and communities with a broader range of knowledge.

Our Prowise Presenter software enables a teacher to access digital content from across the world and using ProConnect  they can  share screens and  use  mind mapping tools and word sharing tools for collaboration.

More importantly the Prowise interactive flat panels can be adjusted so that it becomes a collaborative table where students can work together on problems and share content.

In creating communities of practice schools can use IRIS Connect so that teachers can share their innovative practices and create a shared library for review.

Our Training Academy works to ensure that teachers have the skills to innovate with these technologies. Read our latest Case Study  as an example of an  Innovative Learning Environment https://www.education.electroboard.com.au/news

Victorian Schools use VC to Learn Chinese

My Chinese Teacher


This week SBS, Luke Waters reported how Victorian public schools have been connecting via video conference to ‘My Chinese Teacher’ a video conferencing program operating in 42 Victorian schools.

The program uses VCme as the solution to connect the schools to their Chinese teachers. Video conferencing in this way, enables the Chinese teachers to show content, with excellent clarity. Students today are used to high quality digital images so it is important that learning through video is of high quality.

“The Co-founder of the program and owner of the company ‘My Education Group’, Tom Shugg, said he had noticed regional primary schools suffering from chronic language teacher shortages and poor resources.

“If they’re beyond 20-kilometres outside of a capital city, they typically can’t find a language teacher, or if they are able to find a language teacher that would really struggle to retain them.”

Using the high quality video conferencing system rolled out by the Victorian Department of Education students up to grade-six can now connect for lessons with their Chinese teachers.

Using the capacity of the video conferencing camera the Chinese teachers can direct the camera out the window looking out over Beijing. This way the students in rural Victoria have an eye witness view of the traffic, buildings and environment of modern China.

“Underbool Primary School Principal Rebecca Prentice says one of the major benefits is the bond the school has developed with their “other” teacher.

“It’s phenomenal. They just love looking out the window, they love asking her personal questions family questions, how different it is, the food,” she says.

Technology and education expert Dr Suelette Dreyfus from the University of Melbourne says that’s one of the main advantages of this interactive program… providing  “live language and a live culture”.

Video conferencing with native speakers of any language is a great benefit for any student learning a language. For information about how your school can utilise the benefits of  video conferencing go to https://www.education.electroboard.com.au/events/VideoConferenceEvents


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