Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Getting Passionate about Passion Projects!

I'm thinking of trying Genius Hour, Passion Projects or 20% time again with one of my classes again this year and am finding such great material on Twitter about this great inquiry based learning concept.

Image via http://www.geniushour.com/

What is Inquiry Based Learning?

Inquiry based learning is a pedagogical approach that places equal emphasis on process and content. Communicating, reflecting, collaborating, analysing, creating, making, questioning, experiencing, researching, and processing are all important elements of the inquiry method.

Along with the obvious pedagogical benefits associated with the inquiry process, Inquiry Based Learning is an excellent method of igniting and nurturing student passions and talents. It is also an excellent way to empower students by giving them a voice and choice. By giving the students some added authority over their learning engages them more and gives them the skills they will need in the Brave New World they will soon be entering!

Image via Teach Thought

As is always the case, Twitter has become my go-to resource to learn all about Inquiry based learning, Genius Hour and Passion Projects.  I have been able to learn SO MUCH from local and international educators by engaging in twitter chats, reading shared materials and following a few educational hashtags like #aussieED and #edchat.

If you want to broaden your professional learning network, meet educators from all over the globe and find amazing teaching and learning resources, then you need to get onto Twitter ASAP and join in with a Twitter chat or Two!

Here's one of my favourite chats about #geniushour condensed into one page via Storify.

How cool is this?!


If you want to learn more about this brilliant concept then check out this post by education author A.J. Juliani. A.J. Juliani currently works as the Director of Technology and Innovation at Centennial School District, Pennsylvania. He is a passionate advocate of the “inquiry-driven” education movement and began the “20% Project” in his own class in January of 2012. The project gives "students the opportunity to learn what they (are) passionate about, and make a difference."

If you are a 21st Century educator, this is definitely something worth being passionate about!

Best wishes and happy tweeting,


Let's continue the conversation at Twitter Facebook

Saturday, 27 August 2016

App of the Month - Microsoft Office Lens

Have you used the Microsoft application Office Lens? I've recently discovered the amazing benefits of using this app and, after sharing it with my students, thought I should blog about it and share this great app with you!

App of the Month - Microsoft Office Lens @natashainoz

Office Lens is essentially a document scanning app that makes pictures of whiteboards and documents readable and saves them to OneNote. It can also convert images to PDF, Word and PowerPoint files through Office integration.

Office Lens is like having a scanner in your pocket. Like magic, it will digitalize notes on whiteboards or blackboards. Always find important documents or business cards. Sketch your ideas and snap a picture for later. Don't lose receipts or stray sticky notes again! 

Here's just one example of how I have used this app in the classroom!

I recently found an article about finding a suitable partner online and this tied in nicely some discussions I had been having about marriage with my senior English students in our investigation of themes in Pride and Prejudice. The article was from an old issue of the magazine New Philosopher. I was able to take a picture of the article then, through the use of use optical character recognition (OCR) in the app, the article and image were able to be converted into a Word document. I was then able to save this document to my school's LMS and share it with my students. No photocopying, no wasted paper and no fuss!

#educatorinoz #officelens

My EAL/D students and my students with special learning needs have found this app so helpful because with Whiteboard mode, Office Lens trims and cleans up glare and shadows. It so convenient for students because the pictures taken are automatically saved to the camera roll so they can retrieve all of their images/documents across all devices. If you are a OneNote user you can easily capture student work samples, online documents, class readings and so on using Office Lens then send everything directly to the students' class notebook. 

Office Lens now includes Office 365 support for iOS 1 - 1

I love that you can take pictures of receipts, business cards, menus, recipes from magazines, whiteboards, or even sticky notes and then save everything in your preferred format.

All you need to be able to use Office Lens is a Microsoft Account that is the same as the one registered on your device. Office Lens for iPhone users can share documents securely using Office 365 work and school accounts. 

I'm so glad I found this great app! 

Best wishes,

Let's continue the conversation at Twitter Facebook, InstagramGoogle plus, and Pinterest.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Favourite Pins Friday: #GrowthMindset resources

The concept of 'growth mindset' continues to be used, explored and discussed by educators and is also being promoted as a tool that can help increase profits for business in blog posts such as 'How Companies Can Profit from a “Growth Mindset”' as published in the Harvard Business Review. Carol Dweck, a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, has shared some excellent research and observations on how developing a growth mindset can positively affect performance. She has found that when it comes to achieving success the inner belief that we can improve upon our abilities is crucial and can be quite easily changed. She believes that instead of having a 'fixed mindset' about our abilities we can develop a 'growth mindset' by being willing to put in our best efforts to learn and grow.  For example, if a student has a fixed mindset, they think that their  intelligence and talents are fixed and innate, in other words they can't be changed in order to grow. On the other hand, if a student has a growth mindset they believe that if they work hard and learn from their mistakes they can achieve excellence and growth.

Dweck believes that we need to learn from both our successes and failures; it is often our setbacks that allow us to find new opportunities for growth and development.

I have been using Dweck's theories in my continuing exploration of strategies that will support student confidence and inspire life-long learning. I have found some really great resources online and have pinned them to my 'School and Educational Materials' board on Pinterest.

So, for this week's Favourite Pins Friday post, I'm sharing a few of my favourite '#GrowthMindset resources'

Favourite Pins Friday, #EducatorinOz

"iLearn" Poster via Edutopia
[Free download] This poster will inspire the lifelong learners in your…:

The Iceberg Illusion via Sylvia Duckworth
Sylvia Duckworth on: