Binary in plain English

You need to teach binary as part of the curriculum, but do really understand it? The binary number system is a base-2 number system. This means, it only has two numbers, 0 and 1. You might be thinking, our decimal number system has numbers 0-9 so why don’t we use this? Well, with electronics and computer systems, they only have two electrical states, on or off. These two states can be represented as zero […]

Teaching Secondary Math? Get on board with Mr Woo!

Eddie Woo is Head Teacher Mathematics at a public comprehensive high school in Sydney, Australia. Recently he has become a YouTube hit! How did it all begin? Unfortunately, Mr Woo had the experience of teaching a student a few years ago who was very ill and in and out of hospital regularly. He noticed that what the student craved, was to just feel normal, to do normal things, not have appointment […]

Four simple array tasks, which don’t require much preparation

An array is an arrangement of objects, pictures, or numbers in columns and rows. In mathematics, they are useful representations of multiplication concepts. For example, 3 x 4 = 12 can be shown in an array of 3 rows and 4 columns equals 12 in total.  There are many ways to teach arrays but here are four activities which students really enjoy. Teaching arrays idea 1: When you ask students to sit on the […]

Is homework meaningful?

Homework is a topic which generally doesn’t receive much discussion in schools. Of course, there are policies about how much homework students should complete each week (which teachers should be aware of), but little discussion occurs amongst colleagues about what homework is being set. It took me several years to get year level text books off my student’s class book list because teachers commented, “We’ve always had a text book, […]

Live holographic teleportation? Yes!

Before I get to the live holographic teleportation, which is amazing, I’ll give you a little background information. HoloLens is mixed reality. It allows you to interact with virtual holograms and real objects in your physical world with holographic technology through a headset (the lens straps onto your head and partially covers your eyes). Last year I showed my students the Minecraft HoloLens video by Minecraft Gameplay. They were totally blown […]

Australian bush fire unit using Microsoft OneNote Class Notebook

This term I had to teach a unit on Australian bush fires as part of the Year 5 curriculum. The content descriptor is: The impact of bush fires or floods on environments and communities, and how people can respond (ACHASSK114) . Previously I have taught this unit with the help of a Microsoft SharePoint page which I created for the unit. I use SharePoint as it is our whole school’s learning […]

New Surface and 2017 Surface Summit, Seattle

  In March this year, I had the opportunity to fly to Seattle to visit Microsoft headquarters for the Microsoft Surface Summit in Seattle, with my Principal, Ms Paddy McEvoy (St Aloysius College, Adelaide). We were able to connect with and talk to teachers from other countries, which was a priceless opportunity.  It was also amazing to see Microsoft headquarters and meet their collaborative team from design engineers to product managers […]

Unplugged coding: Sandwich algorithm

Unplugged coding lessons, allow you to teach the fundamentals of computer science without a computer. This style of  coding lessons were very popular about 3-4 years ago when the term ‘coding’ became the hot topic in education, and many schools had limited access to devices. However, as schools acquired greater access to devices,  I found that teachers weren’t letting go of the unplugged activities. I recall being on yard duty two […]

Getting the most out of Microsoft SharePoint for school teachers

Microsoft SharePoint is a browser based collaboration and document management platform from Microsoft. My school has Office 365 and SharePoint is part of the package. In simplest terms, it is the equivalent of have a class blog whether it be a Weebly site, Edublog or any other platform, with the advantage that it has a Windows interface (ie just like editing a word document) and the data can be hosted […]

Teaching Europe for Geography in the Primary years?

For geography, I needed teach the influence of people on the environmental characteristics of places in Europe and the location of their major countries in relation to Australia (ACHASSK111) . There are basically two components to this content descriptor: (1) The influence of people on the environment in Europe, and (2) The location of the major countries. For the first content descriptor, I was aware that students love to learn about […]