Quick tips for online group work

Communication and team work is the key to success when it comes to group work.

These are my quick tips for online group work:

    • Set up a Facebook group page (make it accessible for your team members only, you can maintain your privacy – you don’t have to be ‘friends’)
    • Check out Samepage (it’s awesome!)
    • Use Blackboard Collaborative [BBC] – You will need a great PC headset and make sure you test it out prior to your online meeting. I love the Logitech H540!
    • Use Google Docs to “create and share your work online and access your documents from anywhere” for FREE. Just remember to download a back up copy regularly.
    • Check out my tips – Here’s a quick ‘how to’ guide for Google Docs
    • Write an Agenda prior to each meeting and circulate it in advance.
    • Take Minutes during every meeting and circulate promptly after each meeting.
    • Help each other and remember that team members may not be as proficient or as confident with ICT’s.
    • Enjoy the journey, group work will keep you motivated, no one wants to let the team down!


    • Create new documents on Google Docs and share with group members:
      • Team Roles and Responsibilities (assign roles that suit each person’s skills, attributes and interests)
      • Team Project Plan (establish weekly goals in alignment with your course study schedule and assessment submission / due dates and assign team members to tasks)
      • Availability for online meetings (makes scheduling meetings a breeze)
      • Communication Log (team members are accountable for maintaining contact)
      • Team Code of Conduct and Communication (see the draft copy and references pasted below)


Rule/Code Rationale
1 Start and end the meeting on time.

Be ready and online 5-10 minutes prior to the meeting to test and resolve technical /ICT issues.

Be courteous of other team members’ commitments and schedules. If the meeting is set to 60 minutes, make sure that the meeting is 60 minutes.
2 Respect all team members, their ideas, perspectives and diverse ways of learning. Respect that individuals have different ideas, perspectives, preferred styles and ways of learning etc. This does not mean agreeing with everything, rather respecting them as an individual.
3 Encourage cooperative collaboration and enable all team members to be active contributors. Teamwork involves all team members. Success depends on teamwork and helping each other.
4 Commit 100% focus and attention during meetings. Eliminate unnecessary and irrelevant distractions (surfing the net, reading other materials, sending emails during the call).
5 Follow the agenda for the meetings.

Include a short update at the beginning and recap at the end of each meeting. Take notes and distribute meeting ‘minutes’ promptly after each meeting.

Ensure all team members are informed of the agenda. Create, contribute to and circulate the agenda a day or two before the meeting. Allocate time at the start of meetings for a short update from all team members. Recap at the end of all meetings: agreed action points, who will be accountable, next steps etc.
6 Notify team members if you are unable to attend a meeting. Provide an update of assigned tasks and seek assistance in delegating some tasks to team members if required (in the event of personal issues/illness). Be courteous and notify team members as soon as possible prior to the meeting. Delegate tasks to other team members to ensure tasks will be completed in accordance with the team’s study and assessment schedule.

ICT community_puzzle_concept

For more helpful advice, check out the links below 🙂

Britton, J. (2008). 5 Tips for Effective Virtual Team Meetings. Retrieved from http://biztoolkit.blogspot.com.au/2008/01/5-tips-for-effective-virtual-team.html

Noble, S. (1997-2009). Starting up a virtual team. Retrieved from http://teambuildersplus.com/articles/starting-up-virtual-team

Settle-Murphy, N. (2007). Mobilize Global Virtual Teams by Avoiding 8 Common Landmines. Retrieved from http://www.guidedinsights.com/mobilize-global-virtual-teams-by-avoiding-8-common-landmines/


Uploading your Professional Experience Report to InPlace

Here is a visual explanation of how I uploaded my Professional Experience Report to InPlace:

Uploading your Professional Experience Report and EDC3100 ICT Statement

I uploaded my Professional Experience Report and ICT Statement to my ePortfolio https://eportfolio.usq.edu.au/ and InPlace https://inplace.usq.edu.au. I received very positive and professional feedback from my Mentor and I enjoyed reading back over feedback from each lesson plan and weekly interim report. Reflecting on our journey through our University studies and Professional Experience practicum is a wonderful tool for self-reflection and professional growth.

I believe it is almost natural for us to seek and receive feedback on many levels. It is a normal, healthy and positive way for us to learn and improve throughout our University studies (and our life). As a University student, you almost have to prepare yourself for the negative feedback or for a more positive and productive way to think of it ‘constructive feedback’.

This morning I was surprised when I opened my emails. The ICT Course Examiner asked for my permission to use Uploading your Professional Experience Report to InPlace in the learning path for this and future offerings of the course. I thought, “Well yes Sir you’re welcome to use it” (I had better not get too proud! I’m just proud of all my hard work!). I’m going to perceive and value this as positive feedback!

I’m sure we’ve all had those moments when you’re anticipating the return of an assignment. Your first thought is ‘what grade did I receive?’ followed by the curiosity of the feedback that has been left for you to consider. Most often, there are suggestions in areas to improve on and a few points of positive praise.

In my experience, sometimes you don’t receive the positive feedback that you were truly hoping for. In the ‘catch 22’ it’s most often the opinions of others that bite at your heel. I once heard a saying, “Opinions are like Lego in the night, unexpected and extremely painful” (The Great Debate, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, 2016). We can still learn from the negatives or criticism and reflect on this on the balance scales. I hope that we all experience that balance between positive and negatives.

Sometimes I find myself wanting to enter into rebuttal with the marker to seek further clarification or defend my decisions. Then I realised ‘it’s not all bad, it’s just one perspective, one opinion and the marker’s interpretation of how my work measured up to the marking rubric’. There is a moderation process in grading and I was fortunate to attend a few moderation meetings during my Professional Experience at a local Primary School. I still believe moderation is one person’s perspective and interpretation verses another person. It was a beneficial process to experience for sure. Back to feedback, just enjoy the process of reflection and learn from the experience that you are gaining throughout your journey. “Good Feedback it the Key to Improvement” (unknown), this will be my advice to my future students.

Good feedback is the key...

[Good Feedback is the Key…] Image. Retrieved June 10, 2016, from https://au.pinterest.com/pin/985231141304610/

ICT Year 6 observations – Game Maker

I had the opportunity to observe a Year 6 Technology lesson in the new ICT lab!

The teacher has allocated 1 hour per week for 8 weeks for this particular unit of work. The students are challenged with the task of developing an ICT Maze Game with Game Maker 7.0 Litehttp://www.yoyogames.com/gamemaker

The students are required to plan a five level game with increasing difficulty and demonstrate understanding of the key aspects of a game and its associated objects.

The assessment task sheet, marking rubric and planning template pages were provided to the students in week one. They have ample opportunities to plan, edit, record changes and reflect on their improvements.

The concept of this assessment is the teacher’s ‘brainchild’ if you wish. The teacher has been integrating ICT into the classroom for years; however, this particular unit and assessment  facilitates independent work and 100% student engagement in learning.

Game maker 1

CLEM, where C is for a Community of ICT users

You may have met CLEM in an earlier Blog post.

CLEM is an acronym for Community, Literature, Examples, and Model.

This is a summary of my learning based on my interpretation and perception on the C of CLEM. Community: The who, what, where and how? (I’ve added in who?)

So far, during the first week of my Professional Experience I have:

  • identified who the communities (of ICT users) are within the school.
  • been discovering what the communities use ICT for (to enhance student learning).
  • identified where the communities are using the ICT and where to get help when I need it (if my mentor is unsure).
  • asked to observe how the communities use the ICT to enhance student learning during one lesson next week.

ICT community_puzzle_concept

ICT Community puzzle [Image] Retrieved May 18, 2016, from http://www.vreme.com/g/images/1143206_puzzle_concept.jpg

The “Snipping Tool” for capturing ‘screenshots’

 A quick trip over to the Library for an errand opened up an opportunity to meet the Librarian and find out about the ICT community within the school. Mrs F offered me a great tip for inserting images into a word document for worksheets and resources. It is called the “Snipping Tool” (search for this on your computer). I didn’t even know that I had this on my computer! It basically allows you to capture a ‘screenshot’ then save it or paste it into a word document (be aware of copyright and cite where you have ‘retrieved’ things from). The Snipping Tool is so handy! It makes the whole ‘copy and paste’ function even easier. Check it out here for more information.

 Snipping Tool

Snipping Tool [Image] Retrieved May 18, 2016, from http://res2.windows.microsoft.com/resbox/en/6.3/main/f93d8a04-8b0d-4b7f-bcf7-f9d9a60d1b73_10.png

Professional Experience [PE]: Week 1

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” (Confucius)

ICT challenge of the week: Printers! The classroom printer decided to ‘go on strike’ so I offered to check it out. I put my thinking cap on and went to investigate. Power on and connected, paper trays, ink levels, no flashing lights, cables and connections? All good, okay. I tried the old ‘turn it off and on’ again trick… Still nothing. Hmmm, alrighty then! What about the laptop? I checked the cables, explored the settings in the Printer properties and I could not find anything obvious. I felt as though I had tried everything that would work for me at home. My mentor has ‘logged a request’ for ‘the IT guy’ to investigate this tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

Lesson plans and resources… I have not had many opportunities to use ICT in my lessons yet; however, I have mastered my use of the interactive whiteboard. The kids absolutely love this digital technology, especially for watching animated stories and videos for literacy, numeracy and Cosmic Kids Yoga!

I have been creating my own worksheets for my Prep students on my computer at home and our lovely teacher aide has been photocopying these in preparation for each lesson. I’m so grateful for the extra pair of hands in our Prep classroom. I hope everyone is having a great week!


Confucius quote [Image] Retrieved May 18, 2016, from http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Erh_4B3nC0A/VMU6fvZxovI/AAAAAAAACq0/alyD9sipeYk/s1600/Choose-a-job-you-love__quotes-by-Confucius-33.png

1st day of P.E. & Qld Handwriting Font

Great first day! Rewind << back to this morning. I ‘hit the ground running’ and ‘got thrown in the deep end’ – sink or swim! The first day of ‘round four’ of my Professional Experiences (P.E.) went from the good morning greetings, introductions and roll marking… over to Mrs H! Now, before I go any further, my pre-service peers may ask, “Why are you on prac already?” We have a show holiday next week so I chose to make up a day pre-P.E. as we must complete 15 days.

I jumped straight into my role as a teacher. Two students wrapped their arms around my legs within the first five minutes. WOW! Our morning session began with Talk Time. Four students took turns talking about a book that they have read. Considering their age and developmental stage, it can be difficult for little ones to sit still when the weather changes. We had a ‘cold snap’ overnight and the kiddies were feeling it. My multitasking skills came in handy with ‘crowd control’ while supporting the student presenting their recount. This was a challenge at times as I did not know any of their names yet.

The rest of the day flew by! I taught short lessons during Mathematics and Literacy rotations. I assisted the teacher with the class routines, behaviour management and ‘eat duty’. I valued my time with the students and learnt as many names as possible. Cheers at the end of my first day in Prep, I LOVED it.

In preparations for my lessons, my mentor asked me to create a few of my own worksheets with the Queensland Beginners Font. I searched online for the correct font and found these resources. You can download the free Years 1 – 3 handwriting resources from the learningplace.com.au website here. Click Download Syllabus.

header QLD Fonts

Australian School Fonts [Image] (2016). Retrieved from http://www.australianschoolfonts.com.au/font-info/qld-font-info/