Digital Media in the Classroom – Digital Story


This short digital movie was created for a Digital Media in the Classroom assessment as part of a Master of Teaching (Primary) course at the University of Sydney to be used as a teaching resource for HSIE Cultures and Identity. It can be used at multiple stages as it crosses the boundaries between awareness of self, school, local, national and global cultures and identity. It can be used as an initial prompt for discussion and exploration of the idea of diversity and multiculturalism.

Author: Nathan Quan

This short digital movie was created using images and videos with Creative Commons attribution.

Credits (in order of appearance):

1. art around, “Diversity” March 19. 2009 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution
2. Oregon Department of Transportation, “Diversity quilt” September 16, 2009 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution
3. Nathan Gibbs, “Multicultural Crayons” September 6, 2006 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution
4. Oregon Department of Transportation, “2011 Diversity Conference” September 26, 2009 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution
5. Jeff Weese, “Depiction of nativity with Christmas tree backdrop” December 5, 2009 via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution
6. Ra’ed Qutena, “Kuwait-Indian Cultural Festival” November 9, 2009 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution
7. -Mark-, “Chinese Folk Dance Association – San Francisco Chinese New Year Flower Market Fair 2014” January 25, 2014 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution
8. Asela Abhayapala, “Multicultural Festival” February 9, 2008 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution
9. Paul Perrottet, “5th/6th Battalion, Royal Victoria Regiment marching down Swanston Street past Flinders Street Station, as part of the 2008 ANZAC Day Parade in Melbourne.” April 25, 2005 via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution
10. Paulo Camera, “Chinese New Year London” January 19, 2012 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution
11. Peter van der Sluijs, “Bar Mitzvah is important for jewish boys” October 24, 2012 via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution
12. Den Haag, “Portrait of a moslim woman” June 3, 2007 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution
13. Doug88888, “Happy portrait” May 22, 2011 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution
14. Geraint Rowland, “Peruvian Portraits, San Martin de Porres” May 31, 2013 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution
15. pix.plz, “$2 Portraits Project: ?” January 14, 2010 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution
16. pix.plz, “$2 Portraits Project: Alfreda” November 1, 2009 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribute
17. PhotoAtelier, “Portrait of a Young Man” April 10, 2011 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution
18. zsoolt, “Portrait” June 29, 2007 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution
19. Dave Heuts, “Portrait Voerman” October 18, 2007 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution
20. Louis Vest, “Portraits of India – 1” February 22, 2009 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution
21. frattagalia, “self portrait at cemetery” April 16, 2010 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution
22. PeacedialogueNGO, “Peace Dialogue: Diversity” August 27, 2012 via YouTube, Creative Commons Attribution
23. russavia, “Harmony Day is celebrated around Australia on 21 March each year. It’s a day where all Australians celebrate our cultural diversity” February 6, 2010 via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution
24. PieterID, “User Test at the Primary School – And Action! first concept” September 26, 2011 via YouTube, Creative Commons Attribution
25. janaree nore, “class photo (such as it is) 2008/2009” May 20, 2009 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution


Review: Playschool Art Maker on the iPad


After reading Jones’ (2012) experience with this application in a Kindergarten classroom at Wiley Park Public School, we decided to have a play with the app ourselves in class.

From the get go, the app has a very inviting interface that is easy to navigate and intuitive to use. Clicking on menu items results in the pages of the menu flipping over, reminiscent of a traditional story book which students’ are familiar with as well as short voiceovers from Playschool hosts to prompt students. The app allows you to record animations using the Playschool characters and scenes with voice recording for oral narration as you record.

With minimal scaffolding, young children will be able to create and record their own individual creations after playing and exploring the app themselves. It provides an introduction to storyboarding, scenes, character creation and drama. It can be used to retell a story or for students to create their own stories based on something they have recently read or experienced. With retelling, students can be encouraged to visualise what they have just read and translate it into the app as a digital story which enables them to create meaning and develop their visual and oral literacy. This can then be further developed with the introduction of elements of a story with introduction, complication, climax and resolution through scaffolding using the storyboard.

We also had a play with the Toontastic app which was not as intuitive as the Playschool Art Maker but included a very useful scaffold in a Story Arc and the ability for students to create their own characters that move around the screen.

Using iPads in Literacy Development


Jones’ (2012) article iPads and kindergarten – students’ literacy development raises a number of important points in development of literacy in young children. Whilst new technology can provide a medium for literacy development, traditional use of oral language is a key element in development of reading and comprehension. The use of iPads can facilitate this as it enables a complex form of socio-dramatic play which is shown to vastly improve language development (Miller & Almon, 2009 as cited in Jones, 2012).

Children are also increasingly coming to school with a virtual backpack of knowledge and skills in the use of new technology such as iPads and touchscreen devices. Traditional forms of play using new technology and symbolic images, rather than the traditional concrete toys are also becoming increasingly common as children treat symbolic play a screen the same way as manipulation of concrete materials (Verenikina & Herrington, 2008 as cited in Jones, 2009).

Engagement is also a crucial factor as students are able to make connections to familiar situations where they are able to make meaning through the use of familiar technology and content, such as the  idea of Playschool characters in the Playschool Art Maker iPad app.

We will now have a look at the Playschool Art Maker app on the iPad and review a number of other useful apps that can be applied to children’s literacy development. Stay tuned!


Jones, M. (2012). iPads and kindergarten – students’ literacy development, SCAN, 31(4), 31-40



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Mini IWB Lesson on The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan for Stage 2 (Year 4)

Activity: This activity allows students to interactively develop an understanding of visual literacy in showing how pictures portray emotions to the reader.

Aim: To consider how visual features depict an emotional aspect of the character.


  • The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan (picture book)
  • The Lost Thing (short film – if available)
  • IWB Notebook File


  • After reading the picture book or watching the short film (or both), pose the question – ‘How do pictures create/convey feelings?’. Ask students to think/pair/share and discuss their thoughts on this. Get students to share their thoughts and then get students to come up to the IWB to match words/phrases to pictures from the book/film and explain why they think that picture conveys that feeling.
  • Extend the activity to include discussion on visual angles, colour and image composition using the next few slides where students construct modelled sentences and discuss their responses with the class as they come to the IWB.
  • This activity can be further extended by adding additional IWB slides on other visual literacy techniques that are used to convey feelings in images.




There have been mixed opinions on the effectiveness and use of IWBs by my colleagues during our first professional experience and by the teaching body as a whole as they have slowly become a centrepiece of the Primary classroom. Some mentioned the trouble and time it took to prepare Notebook slides and activities the night before a lesson and the ICT issues encountered during the lesson which made theirs a dreaded first experience. On the other hand, my personal experiences have only been positive with the IWB giving the opportunity to engage and motivate students through interactive activities and access to multiple modes of learning and information.

The interactive aspect of the IWB is of key importance as reiterated by Higgins, Beauchamp and Miller (2007), through a three stage process of interaction:

  1. Using the IWB to support traditional didactic teaching.
  2. Stimulation of interactivity through questioning and involvement of pupils.
  3. Enhancement of the interactive experience through using the technology to stimulate and develop interactive learning.

This is also in line with the move towards New Literacies as the IWB provides a foundation for its delivery in the classroom. Whilst it may not be proven that IWBs impact student outcome, it has definitely redefined the teacher student relationship and interaction in the classroom for the better where it is used effectively as an ‘Interactive’ White Board.


Higgins, S., G. Beauchamp, and D. Miller (2007), Reviewing the literature on interactive whiteboards, Learning, Media and technology32(3), 213-225.




Some examples of great classroom blogs:

3/4C @ The Junction:

This is a prime example of a model classroom blog to use with a Primary classroom. Blog posts are made on a regular basis and is directly related to learning that occurs in the classroom. It includes student created material and media that has been created in the classroom for students and parents to reflect on and observe the learning that occurs in the classroom. As a teacher, this is a great reflective tool to look back on lessons and assess the interactiveness of tasks while as a learner, it makes learning more fun, relevant and interactive beyond the boundaries of the classroom. The blog also emphasises the connected nature of the blogging experience with students able to comment and communicate with other students around the world.

Mrs. Yollis’ Classroom Blog:

This is another example of a great classroom blog with a greater focus on getting students and the rest of the world to interact in the learning experience. Blog posts include online lessons that were conducted and tutorials that were created by the students’ themselves to show that there is a blurred line between being a learner and being a teacher. This blog poses many activities and questions that students are able to take home after leaving the classroom which further emphasises the nature of learning extending beyond the classroom. This blog also embraces other relevant digital tools such as Twitter. For example, one blog post posed a question to Twitter followers to identify what feather was shown to show that learning through blogging can be collaborative and engaging across borders and the world.

More examples of great classroom blogs at Edublogs