Technology integration in education stories in Australia and beyond.....

April, 2012

  • Innovative-Education

    Accessibility Resources for Education


    For more than 20 years, Microsoft has been committed to building accessibility into our products and services, and we are equally dedicated to providing accessibility resources for both students and educators. An estimated 186 million children with disabilities worldwide have not completed their primary school education. Microsoft believes accessible technology can provide educational opportunities to students with disabilities and learning-style differences. 

    The Trustworthy Computing (TwC) and the Partners in Learning (PiL) teams are working together to grow Microsoft’s commitment to accessibility solutions for education by listening to what teachers need, and then creating the relevant accessibility materials. In response, Microsoft recently published new resources including curriculum resources, a teacher training workshop, and a series of case studies and videos that illustrate success stories of students with special needs who are using Microsoft accessibility solutions in school.

    Students with disabilities and learning-style differences face unique challenges in learning and in life. Accessible technology can provide educational opportunities to students with disabilities. Accessibility and personalization features in Microsoft products and services ensure that all students have the opportunity to enhance learning with technology. Microsoft is dedicated to building accessibility into our products and services, and providing accessibility resources for educators.

    Below is a series of resources that Microsoft has developed to aid teachers and students address some of these challenges in the classroom. These is also a guide to accessibility and a training workshop for teachers which is a great resource for anyone who wished to lead an introductory session to accessibility in a PD day or evening. Before checking out the resources, please take a couple of minutes to watch this great story from Chile.


    Inspiring story from Chile


    Visit Microsoft Accessibility in the Classroom for the full range of resources available

  • Innovative-Education

    dailyedventures blog features Joan Dalton


    For anyone in this years Pilot Schools daily edventuresprogram or have had the opportunity to attend a workshop or seminar delivered by Joan, you will understand how infectious her love of learning is. Joan is one of our leading thought leaders in the development of 21st century skills, developing innovative practice and ensuring that teaching is an engaging, enjoyable experience for teacher and learning. Today, Joan is the feature article in Anthony Salcito’s daily edventures blog. where you can learn all about her fascinating career and learn more about the different projects she is involved in. Click on the following link to read the interview and see why Joan is todays


    “Remember that you may be the only adult role model and positive doorway into the future that they have”

  • Innovative-Education

    Bringing Mathematics to Life


    Mathematics is commonly a subject that student engagement can be difficult to ensure and is certainly the cause of serious frustration to many students. Regardless of the constraints and difficulties of bringing a prescribed mathematics curriculum into a 21st century teaching and learning environment, there are ways to bring content to life and integrate technology into lessons very simply.

    Word and OneNote Mathematics Add-In

    With the Microsoft Mathematics Add-in for Word and OneNote, you can perform mathematical calculations and plot graphs in your Word documents and OneNote notebooks. The add-in also provides an extensive collection of mathematical symbols and structures to display clearly formatted mathematical expressions. You can also quickly insert commonly used expressions and math structures by using the Equation gallery.

    If you're a math teacher or student, check out this video where you can see how to solve equations and plot graphs using the Mathematics Add-In with Microsoft Word 2010. Or download this free Mathematics add-in and see for yourself.

    Microsoft Mathematics 4.0

    Example chart created by Microsoft Math 4.0Teachers often find it challenging to keep all their students at the same pace when learning new maths concepts. Microsoft Mathematics can help students visualise problems and provide extra help when they are reviewing maths concepts on their own.

    From basic maths to calculus, it can help you visualise mathematical concepts in a new way. It’s a free downloadable tool which includes step-by-step instructions and explains fundamental concepts. The wide range of tools to help students with complex mathematics includes a full-featured graphing calculator that’s designed to work just like a hand-held calculator and ink handwriting support to recognise hand-written problems.

    Microsoft Mathematics Graphic Calculator

    Includes a sophisticated graphing calculator

    Microsoft Mathematics has a powerful graphing calculator built in. That saves each student the cost of buying a graphing calculator and assures that they all have access to the same necessary tools.

    Microsoft Mathematics uses a Computer Algebra System (CAS) to help teachers share and solve more complex equations and functions. It’s capable of handling subjects including pre-algebra, algebra, trigonometry, calculus, physics and chemistry.

    Helps students by stepping through problems

    With its step-by-step approach to problem solving, Microsoft Mathematics shows the journey to the maths solution, not just the end point. For teachers, it’s like having a maths tutor available to their students when they get stuck on a problem. The step-by-step feature can help students improve their understanding of formulas and concepts as they do their homework.

    It’s useful for subjects such as pre-algebra, algebra, trigonometry, calculus, physics and chemistry.

    Where can I find out how to use it?

    There’s a full Microsoft Mathematics Teachers Guide, as well as a Step-by-step Guide that talks you through the whole software.

    Download Microsoft Mathematics from here.

    Maths Worksheet Generator

    Maths Worksheet Generator headerMaths Worksheet Generator creates anything from one to 1,000 equations on a worksheet from a single sample equation you enter. And it also generates the teacher answer sheet too.

    Do you spend a lot of time searching for worksheets with practice problems to give your students? Now you can easily create your own in just a few seconds with the Math Worksheet Generator. This is a tool that generates multiple math problems based on a sample, and then creates a worksheet that you can distribute. By analysing the math problem you provide, or one of the built-in samples, the generator determines the structure of the expression and provides similar problems.

    Create quick maths worksheets in Word

    The Math Worksheet Generator works best with Word 2007 and 2010. If you have that, then the tool creates a Word document and the expressions are editable. If you have an older version of Word, it still creates a document, but the expressions are small images that aren't editable. (This is because Word 2007 and higher has more built-in support for inserting Math equations.) If you don't have Word at all, the tool will create HTML versions of the worksheet and answer sheet.

    The tool supports everything from basic arithmetic through algebra.

    Where can I find out how to use it?

    Here’s a demo of the Maths Worksheet Generator in use, which shows how easy it is to use. Just download the video here.

  • Innovative-Education

    Game based learning


    In recent years computer Games Based Learning, or playful learning has started to gain more cohesion in classrooms as a powerful learning and teaching methodology. There are so many different games and ways to bring gaming into your lessons just like Alice Leung, the 2012 Microsoft Australia Innovative teacher winner, did with her science and physics classes. To check out how Alice has been using games check out the newspaper article from yesterday.

    Games based learning has always offered a lot of opportunity, and here in Microsoft innovations such as the Kinect is clearly accelerating innovation in this area. imageKinect is a console adapter for Xbox 360 and any Windows PC – it has a dual camera system that enables users to control software through their gestures. It’s an immersive experience, and learners can use their whole body– arms, legs, hands, and feet – to interact with software, and devices. Kinect for Windows has great potential to transform how we all interact with our computers and finally classrooms can have real interactive whiteboards! For anyone wishing to take Kinect a step further and begin to develop classroom apps and software, check out this curriculum download from Rob Miles in the University of Hull in the UK.

    There have been many different ways that teachers have implemented a Kinect into their classrooms but some real simple ways to integrate it into you curriculum are:

    • A bowling game used for numeracy – children counted how many pins were knocked down and how many were left
    • The creation of avatars to teach life-skills
    • Students used Kinect to conduct quizzes on eye and hair colour
    • Students developed their kinaesthetic intelligences through a dance game
    • Kinectimals was used to develop sentence construction and punctuation skills
    • Kinect Sports can engage individuals who have traditional not enjoyed physical education

    There are so many more examples of real integrations into lessons some of which are available in the links through this post.

    Kinecteducation is an educator-driven community resource for developers, teachers, students, enthusiasts, and any other education stakeholder to promote the use of Kinect applications in classrooms. Our goal is to transform classrooms to a 21st-century model of learning with accessible technology and they need your help!

    With KinectEDucation, you can freely:



    There is no doubt that there is an increased requirement to expose children to computer programming throughout K-12 schooling. Computer science, coding and programing have been traditionally seen as a niche area for specifically interested people. This is no longer going to be the case. Jobs in the future will increasingly look for computer coding literacy at least. As technology advances, so the skill set of users and developers must too. Kodu enables key concepts and ideas from coding to be introduced to children in K-6 by visualising the processes of coding and enabling the students to create their own worlds.

    Teaching with Kodu is not just about programming. It is a great way to develop a number of 21st century skills as it is perfect for focusing on cooperative learning and developing creativity.



    Ribbon Hero 2

    Even humble Microsoft Office 2010 or 2007 can offer a fantastic platform for game based learning. For anyone who remembers Clippy trying to help them in older iterations of Microsoft Office, well he's back and this time he's learned how to teach! Ribbon Hero 2: Clippy's Second Chance is a brilliant way to engage students in the core digital literacy skills of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Discover all Office features by actually using them, with a hint button to fall back on in case you get stuck. Race for a high score with colleagues, classmates and friends, or even put your score on your resume to show off your Office skills!

    There is a multitude of information out on the web about Kinect and learning but below are some of the Australian projects and research that have taken place with Kinect, Kodu and game based learning.

    Happy gaming!

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