Lower Primary ICT (#EdTech)

As part of a LinkedIn discussion on what to do with younger (elementary / primary) learners in ICT (#EdTech) I thought I would share some of my thoughts with the wider community.

I presently work with children K-4. I am a firm believer in teaching with technology for the following reasons:

  1. It imparts fundamental digital age skills
  2. It is multi (trans)-disciplinary
  3. It enables better collaboration
  4. It empowers independence
  5. As children spend more time interacting with curricular content, they further develop understandings
  6. As they craft messages and consider how to best communicate, they enhance their ability to do so to demonstrate understanding

Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 4.19.05 PM

With younger learners we are often the doorway to this digital world. While I would never advocate proper typing practice for children before Grade 3 we do start good habits. If children are using a keyboard, keep it simple, encourage them to use both hands!

Data storage and retrieval are key skills students must have the opportunity to develop. There are a number of apps out there, like EasyBlogger, Jr. that allow for children to use the technology without the capacity or need for reading and writing.

Perhaps it would be best to share out a curriculum I have been developing based on these ideas.

Upper Kindergarten

Much of the work can be done in less fundamental ways with mere substitution such as practicing Fry words on an iTouch app (SAMR blog post here). Last year, however, we achieved full “redefinition” when we collaborated across departments to create an original ABC Phonics video. Children created artwork in Art class that was used in conjunction with musical accompaniment from the Music department that was then used to record them singing with the Technology Specialist who combined in all to produce this video:

Grade 1

In Grade 1 we created characters in Keynote allowing children to:

  1. Develop data storage and retrieval skills
  2. Become familiar with a typical application interface
  3. Extend work with shapes and shape language from mathematics
  4. Get introduced to the credo of independence and supporting others

Naturally, it ended up as a video on our YouTube channel as well:

Later in the year we tied it to traditional literacy and digital citizenship when we created weekly green screen News casts reporting on our progress:

Based on this success we have committed to developing this approach with a proper green screen set up already being used by more classes school wide and with better technical results.

Grade 2

We integrated technology into our International Primary Curriculum by making Documentary videos in iMovie, allowing us to learn new technology skills, develop a better understanding of copyright, creative commons and citation (great resource for classes/teachers here) while further developing and demonstrating understanding of the unit’s objectives:

As this is the year we start spending more time online we spent a good deal of time focused on Digital Citizenship. We used a variety of means including the Nearpod/Common Sense Media curriculum and went so far as to produce Books for library and as gifts to Grade 1 classes to better prepare them for the next year when they would do likewise.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 2.29.05 PM.png

Student pages online here.

Grade 3

We introduce children to Google Apps from this year (Great resource for teachers here). So much to say here could be it’s own course, never mind blog post!

In this year level students produced Tour Builder projects demonstrating understanding of time zones and learning about latitude and longitude. Naturally, the screencasts of their work found their way to the school YouTube channel after a quick polishing in iMovie:

This year we have added Ebook creation with Google Slides in our IPC Rain Forest Unit. This gives students the opportunity to develop skills with this app (including how to source images and reference material through the Tools>Explore function) as well as the fundamental skills of visual literacy and digital story telling.

We are using Google Classroom to support the students in the development of self-management skills and taking greater responsibility for directing their learning and tracking their own progress. The checklist shared through the classroom includes a peer assessment chat as well and, along with their eBooks, will be shared in their portfolios.

Grade 4

We take this work with Google Apps further here, including the incorporation of student produced Puppet Pals videos into Google Slides:

As part of the technology integration program at the International School of the Sacred Heart students made a presentation to the class based on their collaborative research and Puppet Pals videos.
Girls were given skill building and introductory lessons on:

  • The Google Slides application and interface (including styles, animations, embedding video, the use of Speaker Notes and how to use the Present function)
  • Principles of C.A.R.P. design (right)
  • Notes on basic presentation skills

Naturally with an assessment rubric used by Mr. Thompson on their first attempt at presenting in this manner in Grade Four.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 2.46.23 PM.png

We also introduce programming without the code via Scratch (Loads here). We are looking to go much further with this having Grade 3 work with Scratch starting this year and introducing programming via Scratch, Jr. for the iPad, Swift Playgrounds, Osmo Coding and Tynker as well.


There is much more that we do and will continue to integrate and/or teach independently but this post has to end somewhere so let it be here. Feel free to visit giveitaway.net for WAAAAAY more and seansensei8 on YouTube for tutorials and don’t forget to subscribe to them all!

Good luck:).

Posted in Digital Learning | Leave a comment

Mad for Sharing Free EdTech Site

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 10.11.29 AM

OK, if you’ve been to this blog before you know I am mad for the share. Networking and supporting one another IS the way of the future. Technology empowers and drives it.

If you are involved with educational technology in any way or just want to learn more about it.

Or how to use it.
Or share better with digital tools.
Or communicate better.

This is the site for you.

Sign up for community updates, how-to / classroom  and school wide support, freebies and a pdf copy of

Five Steps to Fire Up Your Social Media & PLN TODAY.

THE 5 things book image

Or stay here and read as much as you like, naturally. Or SUBSCRIBE to this blog too!

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 10.21.38 AM

Posted in Digital Learning | Leave a comment

An Open Letter to Apple


Dear Apple,

As you know, I am very fond of you. We’ve been through alot together over the years. We’ve grown together. So I want you to know that what I say, I say out of love.

OK, here we go…

You’ve completely missed the boat!

Continue reading

Posted in Digital Citizenship, Digital Learning, Literacy, New Media, Producing, Producing, Publishing, Sharing, Professional Development, Publishing, Remix, Sharing, Visual Literacy | 3 Comments

Free Kindle eBook

I’m proud to be sharing out my first Kindle eBook for free this week. Over 10,000 readers of the original pdf from the giveitaway.net edtech site. I hope it may offer some insights to those interested.Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 9.37.26 AM
Go here to get your copy. (Caveat: Kindle Direct Publishing only allows for 5 days of free posting every 3 months)


Posted in Digital Citizenship, Digital Learning, Literacy, New Media, Producing, Producing, Publishing, Sharing, Professional Development, Publishing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Redefining SAMR?

OK, let’s go out on a limb here.

SAMR. We know it. We love it. But have we thought about it? I mean really thought about it? It is doubtlessly a fantastic tool for reflecting on how we integrate technology into the classroom but it also suggests something else.

SAMR?We humans can often be all about hierarchies. We want to see what the top (mistakenly best?) looks like so we can achieve it. A wonderful part of our nature and I wouldn’t change this if I could, but, if I’m not mistaken, (and I would love to hear your thoughts on this) the SAMR model apparently screams at us that Redefinition, doing things in new ways, is what we should be after in our practice.

I’m not sold on this. Why?

John Nash revised Adam Smith and changed economics forever. This was because of a new intellectual approach to an economic theory not because he felt it needed new interaction with digital technology. Why must things be redefined to be made better? Art galleries are now online. The Google Art Project redefines them and this is a good thing. We have greater access but it is not the same as actually going there. The pieces themselves, the point of the art, is in no way enhanced by this redefinition of the galleries in which they are housed and displayed. Is this wrong? Do they need to be redefined? What of student creations produced in the same manner? Is this end no longer a valid outcome if it cannot be redefined?

All I am really saying is that we should never lose sight of the fact that we need to consider the whys of what we are doing in our practice before we get too swept up in the hows.

I love SAMR but do not think we should accept the implications embedded within it blindly.

Or maybe I’m wrong? What do you think? Is the image below correct? Let’s talk about it!

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 3.25.53 PM

Posted in Digital Citizenship, Digital Learning, New Media, Professional Development, Profundities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Keynote for Digital Story Telling

I have created a page to house all of the videos I recently created as a YouTube playlist and as the basis for an online course. The videos introduce vector graphic creation, digital story telling, the tools necessary to take it deeper, animations and the use of multiple slides to take the process further than Apple ever intended!

It also contains a classroom resource and a link to a workshop session on the same subject along with more session pages (many still under construction) covering an entire conference with Mac/iOS, Google for Edu, Coding and MakerSpace/Design Thinking strands.

I hope you find them useful. Feel free to share them around!



Posted in Digital Learning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Educational Material Development

If you’ve been here before you know this blog is dedicated to creating and sharing. I have recently been asked about materials development and “what I do.”

Well, I’m a teacher at the core of it all. I do what I hope we all do. I share.

As such, I’ve always been an educational material developer. I started, as many of us do, drawing, cutting, pasting and building as a kindergarten teacher where I was largely unable to share what I produced for/with my students with other teachers. With the increasing prevalence of the internet, however, I now almost feel guilty if I don’t share actionable ideas and resources with my growing professional learning network (PLN).

So yes, back to materials. I am a BIG sharer so I have complied a number of some of the most popular (likely translating to most useful) shares here. There have been a number of resources over the years. From MYP Technology:

To supporting students with the transition to the MYP Technology Programme through the PYP Exhibition:


To sites created for and collaboratively with participants to continue the learning long after the events themselves have ended:

There have been student created sites I cannot share here because of a school’s policy. Please see the video below for a full treatment of one comprehensive unit in which students used design thinking and flat classroom practices in concert with the International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE) Students Standards (NETS) as rubric points.

Other sites have been created for students to develop understandings and share:

And, of course, supporting students with the PYP Exhibition from a technology standpoint:

Not all of it is my own. This is a fundamental point. We need to impart to students the facts of living in a connectivist world:

  • We need to share what we do
  • We need to share what other people produce (curate)
  • We need to become valuable nodes in the networks of other people

A perfect example would be this Design Cycle, based on the Tokyo Yamanote line, shared with me and generously given consent to share with the world.

This is a screenshot of the overall design (below). This link takes you to the full thing with each section elaborated larger.

Design Cycle Suzanne Kitto
But I a most proud of my educational technology site giveitaway.net. This was started as a personal repository as I completed a post-graduate certificate course in educational technology. It has grown since. Often I make a page as part of my note-taking process when attending workshops. Free for all and a great resource to share around.

I have included my Apple Distinguished Educator application video here for the sake of comprehensivity. It is a great program to get into if you are so inclined.

If you like any/all of this feel free to contact me as I deliver keynotes and workshops and am available as an educational technology consultant and affiliated with DEEP Learning as a Cooperative Team Leader.

Posted in Collaboration, Digital Citizenship, Digital Learning, IB, Literacy, New Media, Producing, Producing, Publishing, Sharing, Professional Development, Project Based Learning, Publishing, PYP, Remix, Sharing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Professional EdTech Development

If there is a group I need to talk to about this, this must be it.

I’ve joined up with DEEP Learning to deliver edtech conferences. We are always looking for collaborators. Schools looking to host events, school liaisons wanting to be part of organising something meaningful and/or talented individuals who want to share best practice as presenters. It is hard work but I can tell you after our recent Bangkok event at NIST, it really is rewarding.

Please check out the new look of the website and consider joining us for an event or sending some deserving staff. I hope to hear some feedback from this. I really believe this is the sort of cooperative effort that can bring people together and help us all up our games.

I am sharing some information (copied and pasted from a LinkedIn post) about the upcoming event at Nexus IS, Malaysia (May 8-10).

Come and check us out! We’re better together.

Our students are worth it. Every ounce of effort. All year long.

There is a chance to learn from some of the best educational technology practitioners in SE Asia happening May 8-10 at Nexus International School, Malaysia. Google celebrities and high-end presenters Suan Yeo and Jay Atwood will be presenting sessions in the unique Discovery/DEEP Dive two-punch combination format (more here). So will around 20 other in-class, full-time teachers with content ranging from video creation for higher learning to creative commons/citation to robotics and technology in environmental studies!

So are you the kind of teacher who wants to innovate right to the very last day? Grab an Early Bird ticket here and join us or grab a handful of colleagues and take advantage of group rates.

Takeaway Projects are put in place to ensure optimal learning. We help you develop something to take back to your school, ready to implement.

20-minute Discovery Sessions in the morning allow you to learn something new and enable you to make informed choices about which afternoon sessions best suit your unique environment.

50-minute DEEP Dives after lunch allow you to gain further insight and take your learning to a deeper level.

The whole conference from the Google Apps for education pre-conference with sessions also managed by student leaders to the Takeaway Projects and format has been devised to give participants maximum control over their learning. Check out the website for more information and testimonials. Hope to see you there. There is still so much time left to raise the bar for the students in your care.

I hope to hear from you soon!

Posted in Collaboration, Digital Citizenship, Digital Learning, New Media, Producing, Producing, Publishing, Sharing, Professional Development, Sharing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Personalise your Google+ Banner

It’s easier than you might think to polish up your G+ “face.” I’ve used Keynote but anything in landscape would work the same. In the image below you can see how I’ve used about 40% of the whole slide height. The black box indicates the size of the screenshot I took. You then just upload it and crop it.

Voila! The new you.
Note: The clearer the images you use the clearer your banner.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 12.05.34 PM

Posted in Digital Learning | Leave a comment

How Do We Improve PD for Teachers?

This should be a ridiculous question.

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 11.42.34 PMI mean, we’re teachers! Right? If there is anything we are supposed to know about it’s well, teaching and learning. So then why are so many conferences and workshops less than completely satisfying? And how can we change this?

Let’s do something obvious. Let’s approach a PD from the perspective of a class. Which it is.

Let’s look at:

  1. Engaging student interest through differentiation
  2. Using backwards planning (or beginning with the end in mind)
  3. Starting with a provocation & allowing for ownership through choice
  4. Incorporating both formative and summative tasks
  5. Offer support throughout the learning process

DEEP Learning ConferencesWe know it works for student so let’s put it to work for us. DISCLAIMER: From this point onwards I will be describing a DEEP Learning conference style. Still very pertinent to you but I DO hope you will look at the website.

1. Engaging Student Interest Through Differentiation
From the outset we focus on making learning relevant. Different people have different needs. A common framework for a DEEP Learning conference is the three-pronged approach. Our strands:

  • iTeach #GAFE Nov8 - 4Google Apps for Education
  • Apple technologies for education
  • An open-ended pedagogical strand (which may or may not have a technology connection)

You can start thinking about what you might like to attend from the workshops on offer before you arrive. You can even start devising your own personal program through Sched, the online app we use to help you organise your personal program online and/or through your phone.

2. Using Backwards Planning (or beginning with the end in mind)
We want everyone to have a meaningful experience. What better way to ensure this than by setting up a takeaway project? This should be something that you create and can bring back to your school community, teachers, classes, and/or students. Your assigned group leader will be able to check for understanding and essentially “assess” that learning was complete through the development, to some stage, of a usable product. You can also think of it as just another way we are working  to help you stay focused as well.

3. Starting with a Provocation & Allowing for Ownership Through Choice
The next level of personalisation comes from the ability to further fine tune your experience based on the morning discovery sessions. During these 20 minute sessions workshop leaders introduce, demonstrate, and share their topics. These involve examples, demonstrations, direct classroom connections and challenges that allow participants to make informed decisions about which workshops to attend in the afternoon.

The afternoon DEEP sessions (50 minutes each)
If we consider our morning introduction as “discovery” then the afternoon workshops are the chance to engage, experience and participate in an inquiry-based challenge. Workshop leaders act as a facilitators for the participant-led challenges. Depending on the type of workshop you should expect a maximum of 10 minutes direct instruction as a group before embarking on your challenge.

These DEEP sessions are fuelled by “Challenges” to accomplish.  The challenges are introduced and facilitated by the presenters. The challenges could turn into the creation of your takeaway project.

4. Incorporating both Formative and Summative tasks
The focus on challenges (formative tasks) serves two main purposes. It keeps participants actively engaged and putting skills to work in every session they attend and these can be incorporated into the takeaway project (summative task) as they see fit.

5. Offer Support Throughout the Learning Process
The DEEP Learning DifferenceWorkshop leaders check-in throughout sessions. Group leaders follow up at appointed times. You have a short exit interview before receiving your certificate at the end to share your progress.

Sound familiar? If it sounds like your classroom it should. Good PD should be about modelling and following good teaching practice.

We are eager to hear from you about the possibility of:

  • Running an event for your school
  • Holding an event hosted by your school
  • Creating an event specifically tailored to your school’s unique environment
  • Consulting about how to improve systems and structures for more effectively managing the technology environment at your school

See the DEEP Learning website for more information and contact details.

Posted in Digital Learning, Producing, Publishing, Sharing, Professional Development | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment