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Posts tagged ‘digital learners’

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.


Prowise Netherlands visits Australia!

PW Visit-Goodstart

Erik Neeskens (Co-Founder/ Sales Director), Michael Ahrens (Co-Founder/ Technology Director) and Martin de Fockert (International Channel Manager) recently made a trip down under to work with ELB and understand more about the Australian educational context and how to meet the needs of Australian educators.

During their time in Australia the team visited an early child hood centre,  high school and university to better understand these sectors and how  Prowise products and services can be enhanced for Australian education.

The team accompanied by the ELB Education group  visited the GoodStart Early Learning Centre, the first of one hundred centres nationally to have Prowise interactive flat panels installed. Part of their concept is for ELB to provide accredited training across all their sites for  Early Years educators who can participate in content creation workshops and develop  digital resources using Prowise Presenter for early childhood learners.

ELB Education has already developed some content for this age group aligned to the Australian Early Learning Framework. The resources based on the concrete materials which are  part of the play-based curriculum essential for early years  are freely available on our website or through the Prowise Presenter community. https://www.education.electroboard.com.au/resources

The Prowise  Netherlands team also visited Cammeragal High school, one of the first schools in Australia to install Prowise interactive flat panels. The team discussed the interactive flat panel’s effectiveness with the staff and students at the high school. Students were very positive about the interactive flat panels, particularly “the clarity of the image and the sound quality”.

Together with members of the staff, ELB Training Manager, Lindsey Davies, discussed the tools that Prowise Presenter provides for STEAM education. The school plans for the staff to undertake further training in the use of Prowise Presenter and ProConnect which will enable teachers to engage with their students’ BYOD technology by sharing their screens for assessment and collaboration activities.

The Netherlands team also visited Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences – Teacher Training Facility. Lecturers and IT leaders here are looking to upgrade their technology to ensure that it reflects “what is happening in schools and to keep pace with the rapid changes in technology”.

Prowise has a program for providing free access to  Presenter software for Pre-service teachers. This is a great bonus for new educators who can develop digital units of work and use them throughout their course and importantly in whatever school context they are assigned for their practicum. Prowise Presenter is cloud-based software and can be used with any platform ensuring that the effort teachers put into their learning design can be utilised in any web enabled education context .

Pre-service teachers can also contribute to the community of content designed for the Australian Curriculum or the Global community where more than 1 million resources have been saved.

The team from the Netherlands was very impressed with the quality of the training resources and learning content developed by ELB Education Australia. The professional development eBook and learning resources developed by the Training Manager and team displayed a high level of quality and pedagogical skill. To learn more about these resources,  the  ELB Academy and our accredited courses go here: https://www.education.electroboard.com.au/training


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!

Prowise Meets Innovative Australian Educators


During a recent visit to Australia Martin de Fockert International Channel Manager for Prowise met with a number of Australian National Galleries, Libraries, Museums, schools and universities.

Schools in Sydney including the NSWDEC latest high school Cammeraygal were delighted to meet Martin to show him how the Prowise interactive panels were installed in their newest learning spaces.

Barker Junior School also escorted Martin around their recently built campus. Martin was escorted through the imaginative and creative 21st century learning spaces  in which  he saw the students using their BYOD devices.

Barker college

He also attended the Macquarie ICT Innovation Centre where three of the latest Prowise interactive flat panels will be installed. Here he engaged in a deep conversation with the Director about teacher professional learning and school planning for a digital world.

He was also able to view the university’s state of the art library and the learning areas for students which include a diverse range of settings where students  work with interactive screens, to collaborate and share content.

Galleries, libraries and museums including the National Portrait Gallery, the Sydney Opera House, and National Australian Museum also met with martin who demonstrated  the benefits of Prowise Presenter cloud-based software. Presenter software is free so cultural institutions can establish accounts for their education teams to create content to share with  schools on any interactive white board or web enable device.

SOH & Prowise

Content providers were also pleased  to understand how they might place their content in the Prowise Gallery as other agencies have done, like NASA and other European Museums. For organisations hoping to share content with schools this is an exciting solution.

Martin was very impressed with the innovative learning spaces and creative cultural institutions he met and how Prowise can support the 21st century learning being embraced in Australia.

Virtual Mates!


Today students from Australian and New Zealand schools collaborated via video conference with Harper Collins Publishers’ Jacqui Barton to understand more about the history of ANZAC Day. Over 200 students from Victoria’s Lismore and Clayton North Primary Schools, connected with NSW’s Molong Central, Jannali East, Sutherland and Gymea Bay Primary Schools and New Zealand’s Pahiatua School.

 The event based on Jackie French’s text, “A Day to Remember- The Story of ANZAC Day” led students in a discussion about what had changed from the first ANZAC Day ceremony to those they will be participating in this year.

 French’s text carefully describes the history of ANZAC in terms for young students, showing the shifts in roles of women and the Defence Forces and how ANZAC Day ceremonies themselves have evolved.

 The students were asked what changes they perceived in the role of the soldier and how they were going to commemorate ANZAC Day in remembering the sacrifice these soldiers had made for the freedom Australians and New Zealanders enjoy today.  The students from each school described how they will “plant a sea of red poppies” , “write letters to current servicemen”,” paint murals”, “write poems “and  participate “in their own march”.

The media texts from these activities will be posted to a blog hosted by Harper Collins to share across the group of schools for further collaboration. The schools will collaborate again through another video conference with Jackie French for a deeper conversation about her book and the work that they have been doing.


Next month a group of Australian and New Zealand schools will also engage in a Trans-Tasman ANZAC Day ceremony also made possible by video conferencing.





A Great IDEA!


A Great IDEA!

This year’s IDEA Conference was an outstanding event supported by the Department of Education, Employment  and Workplace Relations and Education Services Australia. The Program included International speakers such as Professor Erik Duval from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, Ramona Pierson CEO and Founder of Pierson Labs, Professor Patrick Griffin Melbourne University, Tim DiScipio Founder of ePaLs and M.S Vijay Kumar, Director of Educational innovation at MIT.

Panel sessions were also led by Rhyan Bloor Branch Manager Digital Infrastructure and Resources Branch, Evidence and Innovation Group (DEEWR), Ruth Wallace Director of Social Partnerships in Learning Research Consortium Charles Darwin University.

This panel was entitled ”Engaging Learners in a Digital World; Identity, Devices and Other Matters “ a link to my Prezi can be found here;


The conference also hosted the IMS Global Learning Consortium’s Learning Impact Awards and IRIS Connect was entered for the Regional Finals. It was a privilege to be included amongst the entries and to have the opportunity to discuss IRIS Connect with so many leading educators.

idea12 3

The successful winner was Charles Darwin University: Digital media supporting learning in remote Aboriginal rangers.

For more information about the conference go to:


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