Bringing H.S.I.E Home with iMovie

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iMovie’s new ‘trailer’ function is unreal! I love the arranged themes with their respective musical scores. Additionally, iMovie is so easy to use, anyone can make something brilliant!

When I think about integrating the iPad, my considerations include: the outcomes of the unit of work (as per the syllabus), what I want the students to produce and how technology can assist in this project and students learning.

This term, my grade 6’s have been exploring notable Australians, each focusing on 1 Australian and writing a biography about their notable. Paired with this writing task, the students had to create a persuasive text inviting parents and students in the school to join us on the ‘Day of Notables’. This is where iMovie Trailers came in. The students were put in groups and given a quick demonstration of how to use the trailer function of iMovie. These are the steps we used to integrate the iPad with this project:

  1. Explore the differences between notability and fame.
  2. Look at global notables (people in the world from any time period) who contributed to the world.
  3. Discussed local notables – looking at who they could do.
  4. Writing proposals in order to convince us why their person is significant and what they have contributed to society.
  5. Once approved, students begin researching and writing their biography (paired with explicit writing lessons on the language features and grammatical features of a biography).
  6. Students create trailers persuading parents and students to the ‘Day of Notables’.
  7. Students adapt their biographies to a first person speech in order to present as their notable.
  8. ‘Day of Notables’ – interactive museum set up in school hall with each student presenting their notable to the grade/parents.

iMovie is functional and so easy applied across the curriculum there’s no excuse not to use it!


iPads and Text Types – a match made in heaven!

Courtesy of Flickingerbrad

Some people have asked me “how do I integrate the iPad into my English classes?” I respond by providing some iPad related tasks that link and work well with the text types taught in Australian primary schools.

Text types linked with iPad related tasks include:

Explanation: Using reference apps to discover and uncover the mysteries of the world for example the How Stuff Works app (used in conjunction with hands on, investigative research in class). Creating podcasts on Garageband/ QuickVoice or instructional/explanatory videos using Screenchomp/ShowMe is a great way to share a explanation.

Discussion: Radio interviews are a great way to create a discussion. First writing following the text type structure then recording the discussion using 2 guests, 1 host on Garageband.

Narrative: Scribble press, Puppetpals, Toontastic, etc – storyboarding, writing narratives then narrating a story and creating a digital narrative using one of these apps.

Information report:  Firstly, using the iPad’s many reference apps (brainpop, wikipedia, natgeowalk) or connecting apps (skype, twitter, facebook) or browsing the internet for research followed by content creation using Apple apps (Pages, Keynote, etc).

Courtesy of Sean MacEntee

Procedure:  Creating a step by step procedure using Comicbook!, Screenchomp, Skitch or Viz will work wonders here as they offer great capability for static and interactive instructional guides.

Exposition: Looking at adverts on SMH/The Age app and analysing effective ads – designing and creating persuasive texts using ShowMe (instructional videos), iMovie (for filming and editing TV ads) or Skitch/Viz for stills. Written persuasive texts can also be done on Pages.

Recount: Mindmap a sequence of events using the Popplet app followed by content creation on Pages, Keynote or any other creating app.

For more great English apps that lend themselves to text type writing, check out Apps in Education or Appitic.

Open Ended Homework Tasks

This term’s year six homework involved comprehension and creative writing tasks. I gave my students a title of a narrative they had to write the orientation and sequence of events to bring back the following week.

The most entertaining and creative was to be uploaded to my blog and this was the most creative – one of my students, Natasha, wrote a narrative poem about ‘The Demented Dentist of Debenham Drive’.


demented dentist

Fractions, Decimals and iPads – Integrating the iPad in Primary Maths

What is ‘Real Maths‘? – when I took a poll of what students thought ‘real maths’ was, they told me  that it included graphs, functions, algebra, worksheets or working by myself.  I’ve just finished another mini-project with my Grade 6 Maths class and it’s been another successful integration of the iPad. The mini-projects involve the students planning, calculating and creating around the different Mathematics strands. Which in my mind is the REAL MATHS!

Mini-project 1: Cost Analysis

This involved the students choosing a product of their choice and analyzing the mean price, the median, the mode (the most popular product ) and the price range. This paired nicely with the basic operations of whole numbers and decimals. Here is a work sample from 2 of my students.

Cost Analysis – Chairs

Mini-project 2: Heart Rate Measure

This was a fantastic project allowing the students to apply basic operations of multiplication and division as well as science idea of the heart rate and circulatory system. The students had to measure their heart rate at rest, after a jog and after a sprint and calculate their bpm (beats per minute), beats per hour, per day and per year. Least to say the numbers were huge! After this I asked them to calculate the amount of blood for each of those time frames at a rate of 60ml’s per beat.

Mini-project 3: Fractions Recipe

Students choose a food to cook and write a recipe on how to cook it. The students have to create the recipe to feed 2 people, 16 people and 54 people. This way they are multiplying fractions and showing equivalence. They must also convert their fractions to decimals and percentages in their recipe.

These mini-projects cover numerous strands in Mathematics. Additionally, by blending KLA’s (Key Learning Areas), students get exposure to real life maths tasks and ultimately their perceptions change about what ‘real maths‘ is.

“What do you mean I can interact with your resume ?” – 21st CENTURY RESUMES

When going into any job interview, you are sure to be asked by the interviewer for your resume. Imagine giving him/her your iPad. Why? Your future employers have attention spans like you do so why not cater to that and blow them away with a resume of the 21st century, an INTERACTIVE RESUME!

Writing a great resume doesn’t have to follow a format. Your unique, one-of-a-kind self marketing tool should be well written and formatted appropriately to make you stand out as a superior candidate for your job.

With the Mac app, iBooks Author (and now Adobe InDesign CS5), one can create interactive textbooks from existing templates. What if you used that idea of interaction with media in a textbook to create an interactive resume!


Can you imagine the look on your interviewer’s face when you hand them your iPad to show them your resume and they can instantly interact with:

  • Content about your teaching history
  • Images/cartoons of you teaching (using the camera or comicbook! app)
  • Screencasts of your ideas for the position (using the ShowMe app)
  • Keynote outlining your philosophy on teaching(using Keynote app)
  • Videos of you in the classroom (using the camera app or an external camera)

Your resume interactives should be complemented with text and should still be written formally.

An interactive resume is the perfect way to sell yourself and put yourself ahead of others in the interview process. You want your resume to stand out from the rest so by highlighting skills, education and work experience, your resume will demonstrate and show the interviewer those strengths.

At the end of the interview, you can ask your potential employer if they would like it emailed to them and in what format. I guarantee they’ll be mighty impressed!

Headaches with your iPad Deployment? Check out how

Progress – the development in a direction considered more beneficial to a previous level is the way I would aptly describe our current state of technology. It’s exciting to be part of it!

JAMF software recently offered a session for users of their mobile device management server called ‘CASPER’. It was great to chat to school representatives in a similar situation. It was unanimous Apple’s Volume Licensing (or lack of…in Australia) was frustrating and in fact, slowing the revolution down.

I was blogging in real-time as our mobile device management server (MDM) was being installed and set up. My colleague and I were learning how to use the program in order to enable a more efficient iPad management system in our school. It offers us:

JSS – Notes to consider if you’re rolling out iPads

  • Active Directory – Once an iPad leaves the Wifi network the personal settings are applied – when on the school network, the school settings are applied. This is a fantastic!
  • Push Notification Cert. needs to be purchased 6 weeks before set up as it takes time to generate.
  • Need to enroll each device manually – input the Casper admin details into safari and follow the prompts OR send out enrollment invitations – so easy for enrolling staff with their own accounts
  • Create ‘Configuration’ profiles and push them out to all devices in the inventory. This makes things sooo much easier!

Things to consider:

Each student in upper primary to take home their device, load their own apple ID and are given an iTunes gift card to install apps that the school pushes out. This way, parents manage the devices.


School distributes email addresses and keeps all devices. We also install all apps – this way everything is managed internally (volume licensing must be considered).

If you are a school who are deploying or have deployed iPads and are currently managing them effectively, I would love to chat to you – please get in touch! Twitter: @staffroomhq email:

Paperless Parent/Teacher Interviews!

I first tried to use my iPad to conduct my parent/teacher interview (P+T’s) last year when I realised that I didn’t need to write down a wealth of notes on each students and then fiddle around their desks or the shelves looking for work samples. Now if you’re like me and you do things the ‘whole hog’, your P+T’s will be as extensive and detailed. I provide information on English, Maths, Science/HSIE and Social or General notes. Here’s a way to make your P+T interview paperless using your iPad.

Click image to download

The ‘Dropbox’ Way:

  • Set up a Dropbox account and link your school computer with your iPad.
  • Create a folder for each student in your class and label them as your students name.
  • In each of these student folders, save the word document ‘P+T Outline 2012‘ as the student name.
  • To get work samples, while the students are working or at any time leading up to your P+T’s, take a photo of your student’s work and save upload it into your Parent/Teacher Dropbox folder.
  • When conducting your interview, turn off the auto sleep function so you can work through all the interviews as well as the sounds (there’s nothing worse than clicks and taps through an interview)!


The ‘Evernote’ Way:

Click image to download

  • Set up an Evernote account and link your school computer with your iPad.
  • Create a ‘Parent/Teacher Interview’ folder
  • Proceed to create ‘Tags’ for each student using their name.
  • Write your notes about a student and tag them by entering their name in the ‘Tag’ headline (this will link the current note to the particular student you’ve tagged).
  • The best part is the next step – take photo’s, audio and video and embed it into the note so you have everything you need for your P+T interview on that single note!


Voila! You can now conduct your parent/teacher interviews on your iPad!


Good Luck!


For more great idea’s on integrating the iPad in the classroom, follow me on Twitter: @mr_levy1 or subscribe to this blog!


10 Essential Tech Skills Students NEED To Know

When confronted with the question: What tech skills do you want your kids to know by the end of primary school? I was forced to reflect on my IT education and where and when I obtained it. It seemed that most of my own IT education was self taught. Playing computer games, exploring the internet with basic search engines like Alta Vista. Today, employers and society expect 10 essential tech skills in order to cope with this dynamic experience we call life!

These are:

  1. Typing – The force that enables all that we do on computers. Say goodbye to two-finger typing, enter touch typing.
  2. Word/Excel/Powerpoint – Children need something to do other than surfing the internet. Knowing and understanding these 3 programs prepares students to perform other functions on the computer. From word processing to spreadsheets with basic formulas to presentations for the class, using these programs are an essential skill.
  3. EmailA powerful form of communication. Students should know how to write emails with the correct intended tone as well as functionality like ‘reply all’ and ‘BCC’. Additionally, email management is never too early to learn (I only wish my expert email management transferred into my real life).
  4. Internet Search – Ever tried to find your needle in a handful of needles? The ability to trawl through search engines, know which sites to trust and how to research effectively is absolutely essential for students to learn.
  5. Social Media – Remember the ‘Truman Show’? Now it’s real life! Students need to be aware that their digital footprint can be accessed by the world. They must be taught to manage their online profiles properly as well as managing cyber bullying whether they’re victims, bullies or bystanders. Facebook and Twitter have opened the world to new dimensions but interacting in this world has to be monitored.
  6. Texting/Mobile Technology – Using mobile devices in schools is becoming ever increasing and knowing how to text with intended tone and meaning is important.
  7. Photo Courtesty of StoneySteiner (Flickr)

    Computer Hardware (data knowledge) – Why don’t teachers teach data as part of maths? Understanding relative terms like 1000MG=1GB is becoming increasingly important. Also, recognising ‘that stick thingie’ as a USB and other parts of the computer is essential to any child’s technical knowledge base.

  8. Cross OS understanding – Apple and PC’s are chalk and cheese – rhyme aside, it’s imperative to know how to use both operating systems. Especially with iPads entering schools and many schools using PC’s/Android OS, it’s highly valuable to understand both systems.
  9. Protecting against viruses – Students should be familiar with virus protection, what a virus is, what it does and how it does it.
  10. Knowing when enough is enough – Our world is becoming increasingly digital and online and one of the most important skills is to realise when it’s time to take a break. Students need to be taught how to recognise the symptoms of being on the computer/device for too long.

As long as your student can master the 10 skills above, they will not only be ready for the next step in their education but for numerous opportunities in the world in front of them.

How do we prepare our students for jobs that don’t exist? iPad Deployment cont’d

Why are people happier to lose their wallet rather than their iPhone or iPad? The iDevices are very personal devices. They allow one to completely personalise their device to their liking and in that it becomes part of them. A fraction of their soul if you will 🙂 Wallets are replaceable – money is replaceable – credit cards are replaceable but the iPad and the other iDevices are a representation of one’s self. I’d be devastated if I lost either but it would break my heart to lose my iPad!

Photo taken by MC Morgan

Welcome 2012 – Year of Exploration

The personal nature of the iPad has encouraged me to reflect on our iPad deployment at school and with the hardworking IT coordinator we have been able to secure a significant number of additional iPads at school. This increase will enable the upper grades to be at a 1:1 ratio of device to student. This increase will allow students to collaborate and connect to the content and each other with ease. The production of content and accessibility to powerful educational apps and user-friendly functions are all part of preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist. I’m not saying teachers and schools are career making factories but if we can prepare our students for what’s out there and what’s inevitably coming then we’ve done the right thing.

This year for me and my colleagues will be about exploring the true impact of the iPad in the classroom. We have a big task ahead but we are at ground zero of true leadership in the area. Our desire to use the iPad’s as learning enablers will soar by planning and embedding the use of the technology into our programs. As Tony Vincent concurs in his advice about Project Based Learning in Hand, he alerts us to mobile technology making great learning tools because they motivate students and lend themselves to student voice and choice (for elaboration on this watch his video here).

For updates on my school’s iPad deployment from the ground up, watch this space!