Transforming RATs

The RAT model or framework is useful in considering whether ICT is beneficial to a lesson and in what ways. This helps determine if the ICT acts as a Replacement for other means of transmitting the instruction, if there is Amplification in efficiency, effectiveness or productivity, in the instruction, or if there is Transformation in the learning, curriculum, or instruction.
Just like Cinderella one would wish for the transformation but in all likelihood this is just as elusive as the owner of the other shoe in that story. It may happen, but just like Prince Charming, we should consider other possibilities in front of us, such as Amplification. The ugly sisters are the Replacement. It’s not something to strive for. This is summed up beautifully by my fellow blogger.
And so, I have saved some great links to sites that provide opportunity for students to use online programmes that immerse them in inquiry learning and why we shouldn’t dismiss the benefits of gaming and the like.

It’s a balancing act searching for a lesson plan that matches the criteria.

I got it.

  1. Find a plan that has some ICT included in it.TICK
  2. Ensure there is a URL for others to access it. TICK
  3. Check it is a quality lesson that could be used in a school. TICK
  4. Make sure it supports a formal curriculum. TICK
  5. It should meet copyright laws to share it. TICK

What’s that? I should only have one lesson plan? Mmmm… therein lies the problem.

I know what I’m looking for but ‘never the twain shall meet’ as they say. I think I’ve got the licensing part all sewn up, and there are lots of plans out there to view online, such as Australian Curriculum Lessons, that also support other factors I’m looking for, but so far, the match-making eludes me. Find a plan that’s available to share, can’t find an attached curriculum. Find the plan, no sharing allowed. The next step is to contact the owner of the work for permission. Okay. How do I ask to share the work on a fictional ‘commercial’ site or do I ask for permission for commercial use, regardless? While I wait for an outcome, Christmas is coming…

tree closeup


How to get 100% wrong on a quiz:

To be honest, it was just one true or false question about modern technologies making us anti-social. I have heard the go-to response from so many people over recent years as ‘yes’. That was my final answer, too. But I hesitated. I’ll explain why.

There were different elements within the question that I examined for a while before making my selection and I still felt uncomfortable with my choice when I hit ‘submit’. There were two statements, one about pervasiveness and people being anti-social , and another about people ignoring others in social situations. To support the statements there was an all too familiar image of people in a restaurant all using their phones and making no eye contact or conversation. The very nature of being asked just one question, combined with these other elements, made me suspicious that I was being led to answer ‘yes’. I also disagreed with the first statement and agreed with the second because, whatever our personal opinion is about internet friends being real or fake, the fact is that online gaming and social media has people making connections. Pokémon GO is also a new phenomenon that has people becoming more social.

The answer, as it turned out, was neither ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and addresses perceptions about the impact of technology on our world but also how ICT use should be carefully chosen for purpose. A multiple choice response would have been better suited with an option of ‘neither’ or ‘both’ or perhaps a selection of statements to choose from to best suit the individual’s views.

Ashleigh weighs in with her views on the generation gap contributing to this negative view of technology and some positive points about its use. The image above is an example of a ‘self-guided walking tour’ that uses your location to provide a historic image of the area. Tell me that’s not a conversation starter!


Creative Commons, Arts Resources and Critical Reflection.

Five possibilities for using arts resources and their copyright usage:

1.“Divine Retribution – Dark Angels”-

This resource considers the historical role of angels in art and architecture, and their purpose as bringers of news, retribution, or comfort. Angels continue to feature in contemporary art, jewellery and ornamentation and therefore are a current topic for discussion.

It is an opportunity to discuss assumptions made about angels in order to analyse what experiences influence these schema. Angels are often associated with Christianity therefore, in the spirit of diversity and inclusivity, this may be used as a stepping stone for students to investigate angels or similar beings in various religious and/or cultural beliefs and to explore a range of perspectives. Students could participate in an online survey about angels with each student contributing a question for inclusion.  This employs ICT in a way that allows sharing while students can interpret the results for inclusion in creating their own artwork.

Some students may find the images or concept disturbing, or experience a conflict with their own beliefs and ideas. Alternatives for these students may be in examining characters in childhood stories and songs of a similar nature.

The work is attributed to Janice K. Jones at ArtsSpace, provides an image and reference as a starting point, some sample ideas of the role of angels and an embedded link for another source.  All resources on this site are licensed under Creative Commons by SA (CC BY SA), suitable for adapting, reusing, and sharing, with the condition that attribution is given to the creator and the source site, and any work using this resource is also released under the same license.

2. “St. Mary’s Church: Gargoyle or grotesque” –

This is an image of a sculpture on the corner of a medieaval English church, with some speculation as to whether it is a gargoyle or a grotesque due to there being waterspouts on the same level already. This is an opportunity for students to research and discuss form and function within architecture and/or spiritualism, religion, and superstitions.

Students can research cultural versions of this type of feature that deals with practicality as well as decoration.  They can evaluate changes in sustainability and ideas for how these features may be adapted or improved to meet current needs, i.e. water conservation and re-use. There is opportunity for students to superimpose contemporary fears into reproducing an artwork that wards off these attacks, i.e. how to defend against loss of wi-fi.

There is information about the age of the church, location, construction materials, and some historical data about people of note through the ages. All useful in researching further information.  The image is attributed Bob Harvey at and CC BY-SA 2.0.

3. “Art lesson on Kandinsky” –

This lesson is stated as teaching Numeracy for year 5, although it is also suggested for other age groups too, but focuses on a particular artwork, “Improvisation No. 30 (Cannons)” (1913). The lesson focuses on discussion about the painting and its context, the Russian revolution, building toward students replicating sections of the work and interpreting intention.

This lesson could be extended to focus more on Kandinsky’s evolving abstract style, his motivation for its development, and research about more recent wars and their impact on societies. This lesson is currently limited to students focusing on replicating the artist’s technique and interpretation. Exploring the idea of war and abstraction together allows individuals to focus on the personal impact of war, and gathering statistical data compiled into graphs assist with learning numeracy.

It would be necessary to adjust content of a sensitive nature for any students in the class who may be refugees of war. The lesson attributed to Adam Ralph at with a CC BY SA license. The Kandinsky artwork is in the public domain.

4. “What’s the story behind the picture?” –

This resource includes ten art works from various artists and eras and the title suggest what the task should be. There are no further details included such as teacher notes identifying the names of the artists, artworks, or dates. The teacher could either write their own notes about these works or edit them to include other works. The principle idea is about students interpreting works using schema without knowing any more information other than the image. They may or may not be familiar with some of the works but will draw on art knowledge, and/or personal experience and feelings. Students will be drip-fed further information about the works, i.e. background, context, artist, and will observe any changes to their original interpretation and through reflection activity will analyse their thought-processes.

Metacognition is a cross-curricular skill and literacies, particularly the use of art terminology, will also be addressed.

The work is attributed to Mrshannahlester at  This is a ShareAlike resource, therefore the changes or improvements must adhere to the same license. (I noted this says ‘available to UK teachers’ and there is a US version but it is CC BY SA and is accessible to view.)

5. “EXABYT_A Virtual Reality Art Exhibition Environment” –

The owner of this work co-produced and directed a pop-up digital/physical gallery exhibition. While not specifically designed as an education tool this may be used as a starting point for a lesson. The lesson could focus on the role of technology in creating artworks, or the value and risks involved with displaying works online.

Using this resource relies on supporting technology in the classroom for students to view it although once viewed, it could be inspiration for a task.  Given the appropriate resources students could create digital versions of artworks and then collaborate in small groups to create a maquette of an exhibition space, either indoors or outdoors.  They could film/photograph it and create a presentation to show their peers. Group work supports varied learning abilities and the art work is an individual choice. Most, if not all, students should be familiar with the resource’s aesthetic as it is contemporary and many students have experience with games etc. and the task itself will employs ICT skills.

The work is attributed to Cy Gorman at  with a CC BY SA license.


I received feedback from one of my peers who noted that the critical analysis of the resources appeared to be complete and, aside from a grammatical error, suggested extending them to refer to more of the curriculum.
In light of this I corrected the error and also proof-read the content again. Having read my post again, I believe it meets with the requirements and to add more detailed curriculum links would be more in line with developing a lesson plan, therefore I have made the decision to not pursue that direction.


“Paradox” AKA “Supporting Evidence”

In reasoning as to why (not) teach ICT, not as a specific subject but as a way of teaching and assisting learning, we need to provide supporting evidence. A natural progression when executing an assignment, right?

This requires looking at empirical evidence and theories that support its use and the benefits to student learning in the classroom. No problem. Wait, yes there is a problem. Just like finding a lesson plan that has been successfully used by another teacher (ethically sourced for sharing, of course) or a behaviour management technique that has been recommended for use in specific arenas, there are factors that will effect the success of its implementation. Affordance.

Affordance = environment + object + actor.

What does this mean? It means that using an object is dependent on the person using it and the circumstances in which it is used. The outcome will vary every. Single. Time.

The same thing applies to using theories to support your argument. You may present a context in which it worked but are we able to duplicate all the factors at play? It seems, just like science experiments in a laboratory, the application of these in the real world may not have the same outcomes. If every theory can present evidence for it being correct how can they conflict with each other? Therein lies the paradox. Further reading about how the changing nature of theories and our own beliefs drive the way we teach may be found here.

Science is ever evolving and so too is education, teaching and learning. We all have our own beliefs based on theories and our own empirical evidence. Don’t get me started on dietary guidelines!


Caravaggio, ‘Supper at Emmaus’ (1601)


What makes a lesson one of the ‘best’?

Geography class.  Most recent Professional Experience (PE). Year 8.

I sourced images online as it was easiest for me to quickly source them, knowing what I wanted, and I could search by place name, formation, examples. I was drawing on my own experiences and knowledge of the world. The school used an in-house programme whereby the students accessed all their lessons and homework on their laptops, perfect for them with catching up, revisiting, or getting ahead. I could create the lesson using the textbook and prepare my own mini-tasks and PowerPoints which they could follow on the interactive whiteboard and/or on their laptops. They could type notes direct onto the information on their laptop and it engaged the students in participation, sharing ideas, and interpreting images with schema.

I inserted images that exemplified the terminology in the textbook so that students could practice identifying certain features, such as man-made, natural, or cultural-overlay. It was interesting to see the transformative learning taking place, moving from theory to practice.  What made the lesson one of the ‘best’ learning experiences I had designed was due to the discussions that ensued – I merely instigated it, the rest was down to the individuals themselves.

Some images were tricky to categorise and students were able to justify their reasoning for their decisions. Included in the images was one of historic Sutton Hoo in England that was incorrectly identified by almost all of the students as natural, with one or two leading the others to re-investigate the clues.  I further prompted them providing hints and starting a new discussion about early invasions. This is a burial mound, and it was a perfect segue to considering assumptions, the use of schema, metacognition, and questioning.  Hearing satisfying ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’, and some students proceeding to address misconceptions about Viking horned helmets, made this quite a successful lesson. I could not have predicted, but only hoped, that this lesson could motivate and instigate such a great discussion and one that lead to higher-order thinking.

“Ain’t nobody got time fo dat!”

Finally, I  completed another week of study although it’s a week behind where I want to be. *sigh*

Then we discussed copyright. Oh dear. Okay, so most images found on the internet, such as ones used in memes and shared on Facebook, don’t have any authorship located on them or are not attributed to anyone. This does not mean that they are for public use, they have just been dispersed by others who have not given credit to the creator. Anything created more than 70 years ago is usually safe to use as the copyright is likely to have expired and is considered in the ‘public domain’. The creator of a work can choose whether or not it is for commercial use and there are ways to check for this, but it requires some investigation and a. Lot. Of. Time.

Some options are:

Creative Commons that provides information and resources for images.

Flickr has a collection of images for different purposes.

Image Codr allows you insert a Flickr image and will provide the correct attribution to the author.

I like images in my blog. I am a creative person. An artist. Yes, I could create my own images from scratch but that is not the purpose of the blog or the subject. The visuals are not intended to promote my artistic skills but to reinforce my message about ICTs. As an exception, here’s one I made earlier:


Why Teach the Arts?

Well. Lets start with some different perspectives such as my fellow student, Elly’s, blog.  There are some useful links where she has shared some references in more detail but Elly identifies two points as pertinent to her own philosophy:

“The arts expand on and enrich learning in other subjects” and “The arts teach teamwork! Children learn tolerance and understanding of others”.

The arts have other benefits in the development of an individual that are applicable in many areas of life. Many of the Common Curriculum Elements (CCEs) that contribute to the Queensland Core Skills Test (QCS) are located within the arts subjects and are recognised as providing 21st Century skills that employers desire in their employees. In the Review of the Australian Curriculum Final Report, p. 214, subject matter specialist, Dr John Vallance, makes some points that resonate with my own philosophy:

“First they build social confidence and self-respect.”

“… it has been well documented that a broad grounding in the arts is an effective prophylactic against some forms of anti-social political extremism”

“… young people who have received training in the creative arts alongside other, more academic parts of their education, take a broader and more generous view of their obligations as citizens than their peers with a more narrowly focused education.”

How this links with my own experience and philosophy:

The first observation compliments my results from the Teaching Perspectives Inventory that identified my dominant perspective in teaching as Nurturing. If students feel confident, content, and encouraged, they are more likely to want to learn. This is closely followed by Apprenticeship whereby the teacher scaffolds tasks and gradually relinquishes more responsibility to the learner. This also builds confidence in the individual as they are in control of their own learning and at their own pace (zone of development).

Social Reform is my third perspective and closely aligns with both the second and third observations from Vallance.  The objective is to challenge social or political issues through deconstructing texts, both written and symbolic, by questioning intent, who or what is excluded, and considering alternatives. In order to effect change, individuals need the skills to analyse and critique the world around them and to construct viable solutions. If an individual does not feel valued they are disinclined to contribute and participate, therefore the first two Teaching Perspectives are paramount for Social Reform to succeed.

It would seem that the arts are perfectly suited to my own teaching philosophy and to producing well-rounded citizens of the future. My own personal experience as a contemporary student mirrors the Australian Curriculum’s (p. 4) use of an inquiry learning model. Having to research, develop, reflect, and resolve, helps me to develop higher-order thinking skills and to think about my own way of processing information (metacognition). As a future teacher I believe that by exploring issues with real world contexts, such as social, political, or environmental, also supports a problem-based and problem-solving education. This is far-removed from my own experience in the arts as a secondary school student that was not content-based and was seen as a ‘break’ from academia. It seems that this misconception lives on in many parents who also experienced a similar education to mine. However, there has been a huge shift in how the arts are taught as the focus now is more purposeful; the intent of which is to provide students with transferable skills that assist them in gaining employment, for further study, or in their personal life. If we can assist students in understanding the benefits, we can demonstrate the benefits to parents and the rest of the world alike.






Everything was going well until I started the other subject…

“Add a page to your blog” they said. So, I did and that’s where it all went wrong. I thought I had it all figured out and when in doubt, just click here and there, see what it does, and surely it will do what I want it to do. Erm. No. I made a mess that took me hours of going around in circles with no satisfactory outcome.

So, here we are today. I have had to call in the big guns, my husband as Tech Support, while I try to keep reading the course material to catch up (as this has just put me way behind again). It seems the instructions didn’t clearly explain what a static page does, the difference between a page and a post, or if it can do what I want. We just can’t communicate directly and therefore, I am unable to explain what I need.

This brings me to what I have just been reading about: Schema (mental models) and “the curse of knowledge”.  Cursed is how I feel. In 24 hours I have experienced the pros and cons of both of these facets in using ICT before I had even read about them. Let me explain.

I went in with pre-conceptions of using ICTs. The ‘schema’ I used was my experience of other ICTs and having already set up my blog with no major hiccups. My back up plan, also from experience, was to use a help link and failing that, to mash buttons. The curse comes into play through the ‘help’ options making assumptions about the knowledge I already have. I know it’s a digital programme, not a person, but I don’t see any long term relationships forming there. There is a reason the series of books ‘for Dummies’ was a created.

I am not alone. Reading other blogs fills me envy (well done my fellow student  in making your page work) but also makes me realise that we are united in our struggle. One step at a time.