Mistakes are the portals of discovery | Anonymous ART of Revolution

Here are some thoughts about the new Area of Study for HSC Standard and Advanced English

The Big Questions:
What inspired the search?/ what did you find?/what was the impact or effect?

Types of Discovery:
Spiritual, personal, psychological, physical, invention, knowledge and learning ….

Examples of Discoveries you can think of …
New lands, emotions, romance, secrets, a solution to a problem, treasure, a life saving treatment, illness/disease, god or inner peace, contentment or happiness, estranged family, self, commitment …

Synonyms for the Act of Discovery
Find, uncover, seek, search, enlighten/ment, unearth, expose, innovate, invent, journey, voyage, research, endeavour, venture, undertake, explore, navigate, charter, map, …

Verb Association
Discovery … creates, transforms, challenges, builds, uncovers, provokes, necessitates, defines, provides, enhances, exposes, innovates, reveals, triggers, brings about, influences, elicits, inspires, shakes, confronts, touches, propels ….

Concepts/Words that can be Associated with the Process and Impact of Discovery
(Tip: Think about the verbs you created above)
Concepts: Transformation, human spirit, purpose, meaning, growth, change, identity, belief, happiness, truth, justice, strength, endurance, understanding …

Discovery – Verb – Concept = Topic Sentence

1. The path to self discovery sometimes challenges everything we have ever known.
2. Faith and self-belief are the sparks that ignite passion for all human endeavours.
3. Discoveries can transform our lives and give us new hope and purpose.
4. The journey of self-discovery necessitates a willingness to change and grow.
5. Some discoveries shake all of our beliefs and require us to yield to a new kind of truth.
6. The constant desire and struggle for “discovery” is what makes us human.
7. Discovery propels us forward in search of new understandings and truths.
8. The depth of human spirit and emotion is mapped out along the path of all our discoveries.
9. ….
10. ….

See for my list of possible related texts (Ten Canoes is on prescriptions list for another Module).

Augmented Advertising

Teachers interested in staying relevant on the subject of advertising should not underestimate the power and direction of augmented reality. It’s a game changer. Click the tinyurl above in my tweet to witness a visit from the aliens.



Voice Thread


Voice Thread: a powerful tool of communication and collaboration in the classroom

The power of student and peer collaboration in the classroom can be easily realised by harnessing this kind of web 2 tool to your 21st century pedagogy. Voice Thread enables a teacher to upload an image along with voice recordings, links to other web pages and even video instructions about how s/he wants students to view or respond to the image. Students who are invited into the collaboration group by the teacher are able to add text comments, audio comments or video comments which are available to all members in the circle for listening, reading and viewing. In this example I’ve loaded above, you can click your cursor over the play button triggering a succession of my video and audio instructions to the class. Students have all be invited to view the image and add comments (text, audio or video) about other strands they would add to the mind map or to simply make additional comments about something they learnt in the class. They have also been directed from this image to another I created in Thinglink where even more textual information has been added. In the flipped classroom, this additional Thinglink file will prepare them for the information we will tackle in the next lesson.






Here’s a great new app I’ve just been introduced to: it’s called Aurasma. This app allows you to attach an instructional video to any image, whether it be a photo in a text book or an algebra worsheet. Just download Aurasma to your ipad and create an aura. Any student who opens up their Aurasma app can hover their ipad over the image and the video you made immediately plays for as long as the ipad hovers over the image. My Year 7 students were still not getting why the poles were cold so I created 3 short video explaining the reasons. I made auras for pictures in their text books and then instructed them to hover their Aurasma app over them. Download Aurasma now and hover the triangular scan icon over this photo below to see what happens.

Aurasmify Me …

polar photo

Communication is Key

As a parent nothing is more frustrating than sending an email to a class teacher that isn’t acknowledged or answered. We can be left wondering whether we even had the right email address. We talk about having a good partnership between student, school and family and parents are expected to support the school in developing their child’s learning, but for that to occur we need to model what it looks like. We need to keep the communication channels free and open!

WDWDTWDWDT? (What Did We Do in Class Today)  is a teacher/student/parent app that achieves that with minimal fuss. This app allows teachers to set up numerous classes and communicate freely via email or SMS push notifications with students and parents.

The app is set up to include sections on homework, reminders, surveys, volunteers, meetings, donations. Messages can be sent freely throughout the day about what’s going on in class with pictures of the activity attached, what homework assignments are due etc. Messages can be sent to a whole student group, specific students or parents or a combination of parents and students.

Parents feel connected and included in their child’s education. They love to see their children interacting in the classroom or their child’s face when they score the winning try at a district carnival. Making parents feel a part of their child’s school day has its other advantages. Parents are more likely to accept partial responsibility for their child’s learning; keep them on track when they know when the major assignments are due and what is expected. They can communicate with the class teacher just as students can.

Teachers are actually the only ones who need the app to set up their student classes and contact information. Once set up an email is sent inviting class members and their parents to join. When they accept they start receiving emails. There are of course benefits of having the app as this allows SMS and push notifications to be turned on.

Here’s what a WDWDT? email message looks like

WDWDT message

For teachers the interface is easy and attractive and once you’ve got all your student contact information in, sending an email or replying is just a few clicks away. Being a smart phone app it makes it easy to use in the classroom and on the run and students will appreciate your efforts to be part of their 21st century world of communication.

Message in a Barcode

QR or Quick Response codes are like those tiny barcodes you find on products which you scan at the grocery checkout. You have probably seen them used on marketing material, on websites and in social media. When you scan these codes with your smart phone or ipad – using a simple (and free) QR reader app – you are instantly connected to a webpage, You Tube clip, personal contact page, Twitter or email account, a word file or Facebook page. It’s called Quick response because it’s quick; it cuts out the need for typing long URLs.

All you need to do is download a QR reader and generator app or visit a website where you can sign up for this service for free. QR has many applications in the classroom. This website gives you 50 ways it can be put to fun and functional use.

I really love that with QR I can give my students easy, instant access to all the URLs I want them to open up, but more than that I love the notion of stimulating their curiosity which research shows leads to better learning outcomes.

Obvious ways then of using QR would be to create eye-catching posters around the school with special QR coded messages embedded. With you can not only create QR codes, but attach them to your own or others’ images.

Variety in the types of information and messages you communicate will keep the curiosity alive so mix it up with lovely haiku verse, examples of student work that set the benchmark for excellence, a You Tube clip that is fun and inspiring, perhaps even a tutorial on how to do something better! I like the idea of keeping the identity of the poster maker anonymous, sparking a little harmless hallway chatter!

So that’s for the hallways and playground, but here’s a resource I’ve developed for the classroom which can be used by any teacher. It could be just the emergency lesson that could have students eating out of your hands!

I call it Message in a Barcode

An example of a Message in a Barcode using QR to link to the information you want your audience to seek.


1. Think of a message you want to get across. It could be a social, political or health message that really means something to you. Now, think about the audience you want to communicate it to.

2. Research your idea. Look for websites that provide some background information or ideas that will help you decide clearly how you will communicate that message to your audience. As you go, bookmark any great websites or articles that you find. You will be attaching one to your final image. Think about the visuals you would use for your specific audience.

3. Find an image or create one using as many apps as you like and save it to your pictures folder. You can include small chunks of text or a “teaser” on your image using web tools such as Paint or Powerpoint. A teaser is a small amount of prompting text that begins the job of communicating your message.

4. Decide which article or webpage that you want to attach to the picture. Try and find something that’s at the cutting edge of research and will do a great job of summing up the message or information you want to get across to your audience.

5. Now go to and upload your final image. You can create an account instantly or log in using your Facebook or Google id. Follow the prompts and create a QR code by pasting the URL of your chosen article or website to the image. You can write and link to your own body of text (usually under 1000 characters) if you prefer.

6. Click on the downloaded image and copy the embedded code to the class blog page for others to view and share. When you paste it, write: (a) what your message is (b) why it is important (c) what you discovered as you researched your subject (d) what you learnt about this process.

7. The 5 best messages will be printed in colour and displayed in the school’s hall of fame.


Virtual Insanity

When it comes to virtual worlds the temptation to throw my hands up in the air and bleat some expletives is overpowering, but instead I’ll pay homage to Jamiroquai who released a song titled Virtual Insanity in 1996 almost synchronously with the launch of the world wide web. True to the performer’s knack for being at the cutting edge of youth culture and his times, Jamiroquai’s music video seems to portend the arrival of an unhealthy captivation with virtual reality. I would say the animated moves he pulls and overall video production succeed in conveying a veiled disdain for the ‘abuse’ of technology. Check out the YouTube video and make your own judgments.

The world we’re living in … let me tell ya!

Perhaps I’m too taken by this world … or maybe it’s because when I visit Second Life, I look just like Jay (above) – my too lean limbs flailing, yet frozen in space. Despite all the help tutorials I can’t move around and then somehow I fly too high and never come back down to earth. I did manage to reply to someone in German in the 1920 Berlin city I visited, so I suppose I got to practise a second language, but the city itself – littered with affronting shops and street stalls selling anachronistic items I did not want – was not nearly so appealing as the real thing. Actually, I find the graphics really disappointing in these virtual worlds and wonder how in a web 3 age we can’t render them more realistically, and, being as we can’t, why people can stand to spend so much time in them at all!

That said, I am always up for a challenge and having viewed the material most convincingly presented by Northern Beaches Christian school and Dulwich high school, I can see how virtual worlds can become very deep learning places for young people who use them to create, collaborate and entrepreneur. As the students and a teacher in the video links said, these spaces allow them to connect cross-curricular learning and develop a new respect for other KLAs; they provide avenues for showcasing their work; and allow them to develop important research, communication, project management and collaboration skills. The students were immersed, connected and engaged with their learning and some of the activities had real life applications leading to future careers. (Yes, animation will be the next big thing!)

Seeing how these learning spaces and communities operated, it made me think of how business students could source real product and design an outlet as a collaborative assessment in SL or how visual art students could develop a gallery and shop space which would place an emphasis on them finding and connecting with a community of  people who would commission their work or act as their agents. I guess there are infinite possibilities and so long as students are self-directed in this activity I would be glad to mentor them with the content to make some of the conceptual stuff happen.

ICT and New Media: Metacognition and Digital Citizenship


Interacting with as many new apps and softwares as I have lately, I am convinced that the higher-order thinking skills get a thorough workout when students combine their learning with ICT. (Perhaps my computer dying on me last week was part of the universe’s way of immersing my learning: converting from Windows 7 to 8 and finding ways to retrieve files and alternative softwares was a steep curve. Luckily for the added purchase of my first Ipad with its out-of-the-box start up and easy interface, there were some lighter moments!)

Image taken from: (an interesting read on group collaboration in Google Drive vs Dropbox)

For our movie assignment, simply interacting with the various movie making softwares was a challenge; but more than that was the requirement of bringing so many skills together, each as if a single strand whose beauty cannot be fully appreciated until experienced as part of the final tapestry. Not least of all these skills were the requirements for research and the development of a concept. Then came remembering and understanding our present and past learning, aesthetic judgments, analysis of important content and a range of evaluations and tool applications. At each step of the creative process we needed to reflect on how, what, when, where and why – cognitively, conceptually and technologically.

We were thinking about our thinking: What do I want to convey and how? Why did I choose this over that? Why do I think that and how can I represent that? What effect would that create and would it be better? If I do it this way can I still achieve that?  How might I achieve that effect? How would I do it next time? What have I learnt about that? “Conceptualisation and metacognition is accelerated and enriched using digital media for analyzing, connecting, representing and creating knowledge” (MCEEDYA, 2010, p. 8).

Digital Citizenship

Digital Citizenship is a concept we haven’t had to deal with until the late 20th century, so spending the time getting to know what good digital citizenship means and how it impacts our roles as educators and parents is more important now than in any future time in history. If we can’t teach the first generations of digital natives what this means, we risk an apochryphal future in which we live in constant fear of cyber attacks and virtual warfare. If libel, bullying, copyright infringement, viruses, cyber crime, hacking and identity theft are just some of the issues, then we can expect to be held to ransom by the technologies we thought were our liberators!

Being a good digital citizen implies adherence to a set of norms or standards that society collectively regards as appropriate for upholding our individual rights while also defining our responsibilities. The 9 elements of digital citizenship (Ribble, 2012) are a good starting point to help analyse the depth, level and terrain of digital citizenship. Briefly these 9 elements are:

  • digital access
  • digital communication
  • digital literacy
  • digital etiquette
  • digital law
  • digital rights and responsibilities
  • digital health and wellness
  • digital security

As teachers addressing these themes, Ribble (2012)  says Respect, Educate, Protect (REPS)  is a way to teach and explain them. I’m a believer that real life examples should never be far from our pedagogy when explaining these concepts. All can be “googled” and an endless stream of newspaper articles, YouTube clips and blogs will satisfy your curiosity and purpose.

Social networking, being so ubiquitous in the lives of young people, is perhaps the most familiar forum in which our students practise their digital citizenship (and similarly find themselves challenged). Be it Safebook, the safe alternative to Facebook, or any other social media community they connect to, the infographic below is a handy reminder of the more commonly ‘understood’ requirements of what it is to be good digital citizens. It can be downloaded as a poster for the classroom.

Safebook infographic by Fuzion PR as recommended by

(Fuzion PR Agency, n.d.).

Taken from: