Category Archives: Technology

2 Ways of Integrating Technology in the Classroom

I have read quite a number of articles on guidelines when integrating technology in teaching and learning, but I think the initial mental process in tech integration has been given little attention. Presenting my 2 ways of integrating technology in teaching and learning courtesy of #thoughtsonthetreadmill.

1. Lesson 2 App (Pedagogical Approach)

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As educators, we are hardwired to first think of our lessons. After being confronted by the thought of this lesson, we scavenge through our idea box for amazing ways to present this idea – in education terms, pedagogy. In our idea box, we discover apps we have stumbled upon and see how these apps can be a medium for delivering our lessons to our students to make teaching and learning more engaging.

In this pedagogical approach, we develop the philosophy that technology is not the end. It reminds us that it is just a means to our end: learning. We are not at the beck and call of a new app that came out on the app store.

2. App 2 Lesson (Engagement Approach)

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Another way to build a personal curation of apps for teaching and learning is when we stumble upon amazing apps. These apps excite us because we realize that we could use this for a specific lesson and make our it more engaging. The important thing here is that we are able to connect the app with a lesson.

We need to be wary that upon becoming excited over an app, we end up veering away from our intended lesson standards just to accommodate this hip new app we discovered.

However, apps can be real game changers. App 2 Lesson can modify (Puentedura, 2013) lessons not in the way it changes the curriculum, but it changes the way we assess our students. Students are not anymore assessed by how well they memorize and explain concepts, but they are able to translate these theories into more tangible results thanks to technology. We don’t just anymore teach film theories, but we can now teach them basic film making.

General philosophy in tech integration: Apps are just a means, not ends.

Happy integrating! 🙂



Adobe and Education

Adobe seems to have taken the education route as well in promoting its products through their Adobe Spark apps. As a teacher in a 1:1 school, this support from Adobe is very welcome.

Let me first admit that I am not an avid user of Adobe mobile apps. I am familiar with Adobe Voice (now labeled as Adobe Spark Video), I love it, but have not integrated it in my classes as of yet. I do have some ideas on how to use these Adobe Spark apps in school.

Adobe Spark Apps

I think Adobe aptly names these apps “Spark” apps because their amazing templates are perfect to “spark” the creative fire in its users.

Adobe Spark Post


Adobe Spark Post allows you to create amazing posters that promote a product, inspire, or even educate in a single image. The templates are diverse, but generally contemporary, that it is attractive to any viewer. It is similar to other amazing photo editing apps like Studio (Free) or Retype (Paid), but what Spark Post has that the other doesn’t it is its integration with Adobe Lightroom mobile app and animating your picture with built-in amazing transitions. You can then save your creation as a picture (without animation), as a Live Photo (for iOS devices), or as a video, and share it to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

For school, you can ask your students to use this app to create a poster promoting the importance of learning a specific lesson. They will then have to be able to send the message in a brief, but witty statement, and choose an image that matches the message. Of course you can do other things.

Adobe Spark Video (formerly known as Adobe Voice)

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Adobe Spark Video enables everyone to become an educator, a storyteller, and an inspirational speaker. It has amazing storyboard templates for inspirational videos, educational how-to videos, and narrative videos. The app itself already has a pool of rights-free icons, images, and music that you can already use without worrying about copyright issues.

As an educational tool, this is a no-brainer. You can easily use this app in the following subjects:

  • Social Science/History Classes: You can ask students to create an advocacy video, an informational video on a specific period in history, or a how-to video on economics.
  • English/Language Classes: Easily integrate with Social Science for their videos and assess their script writing abilities. You can also use this for creative writing where they turn their stories in videos.
  • Math Classes: Ask students to create a how-to video in solving word problems.
  • Science Classes: Ask students to summarize their understanding of a theory or concept using a how-to video, or even advocacy video.

There are tons of outputs our students can create using this app. What limits its use is our own lack of imagination as teachers.

Think outside the box, because the world outside it is infinite.



FreshGrade: A Cursory Glance

Just explored a newly-discovered Class Management website called FreshGrade. It’s still in its beta stages, but I see a lot of potential for this. The main features are:

1. Portfolio building of each student in class
2. Consolidated Gradebook
3. Class posting of activities/assessments
4. Students individually submit output, and only teacher can see it
5. Ability of students to comment privately on class assessments
6. Teacher can give feedback to students regarding their submissions, by directly commenting on the submission
7. Students do not need to create an account. Teacher creates the account for each student, and gives them a Class Code and a unique Student Code

FreshGrade Dashboard

Then again, no opportunity for collaboration among students. Communication is only between 1 student and the teacher.

It’s like a cross between iTunes U (posting of activities are organised) and Edmodo (ability to send files to the teacher). Let’s see if they will add this feature to make a student’s comment visible to all members of the class, but submissions are done individually. 

Also, maybe other than placing objectives, there is also a tab for course outline. 

I love the interface of FreshGrade. It’s engaging. I hope that this can be the iTunes U that we wanted. 🙂

Edmodo vs iTunes

At the first stages of iTunes U 2.0, so much has changed with pushing content to the students through the iTunes U Course Manager. It has gained great features that forced me to assess whether Edmodo could already be ditched totally with the advanced features that Apple added into iTunes U.

In short, still not enough to ditch Edmodo.

To summarize my “findings”, here is an info graphic I made to compare the features of the two learning management systems.

Edmodo vs iTunes U


Singapore Bus Tour 2013

Since we were starting a 1:1 Program in school, we were invited by Apple Education South Asia to join a Singapore Bus Tour last week. During a “Bus Tour”, administrators and decision makers in schools who are starting to implement a 1:1 program visit schools who are already implementing it to learn from their experiences.

A 1:1 Program refers to 1 Learning Device (iPad, Tablet, iPod, Macbook, Laptop) to 1 Student.

During this particular tour from August 19-20, 2013, participants come from all over South Asia: Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines.

Here is a simple summary of our visit to different Singapore Schools:

Anglo-Christian School (Barker Rd.)

The group of 110 participants were divided into three smaller groups. Each group has its own itinerary, but there are venues where everyone gathers in one place. In my group/bus, ACS is our first stop.
In a nutshell:
1:1 Program                                         1 Macbook : 1 Student
Curriculum Framework                   Project-based, Collaborative Learning
1:1 Users                                               Sec 1 and Sec 2 (Grade 7 and 8 PH Standards)
Who buys units                                  Parents buy for their children
Bandwidth                                           100 MBPS/300 students
Classroom Setup                               LCD Projector, Speakers, Charging station
Security                                                 CCTV in all classrooms, Lockers outside classrooms
Software                                               Google Docs
Tech Support                                      In-house servicing (done only during recess or after school)
Teacher Training                                1 ICT Mentor per Level
Challenges                                           Teacher training
  • Infrastructure must be up and running
  • Devices are not paperweights; learning devices should engage students in learning
  • It is important that teachers believe strongly in the system (Why before the how)
  • Cyberwellness should be discussed with the students (e.g. cyberbullying, responsible use of technology)
  • Technology is an enhancer for academic learning

Apple Education South Asia Office

After ACS Barker, we passed by the Apple office for a quick snack and orientation on the role of learning devices inside the classroom. Of course, examples used were Apple products, but I would like to reiterate that this is true for all OS, but perhaps not as equally good.

Main points:
  • Allot 10%-15% of budget for professional development because learning devices are nothing without great pedagogical training
  • Learning has become more fun with the 1:1 program
  • SAMR and TPCK Models of learning with technology
  • Learning has become more student centered.
  • Student motivation to learn also increased

De La Salle Zobel Experience, Br. Dennis Magbanua FSC, Apple Distinguished Educator

During our visit at the Apple office, Br. Dennis Magbanua FSC, former president of De La Salle Zobel (DLSZ), now the President of De La Salle College of St. Benilde, also an Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE), gave a brief description of the back-end experiences of implementing the 1:1 program in DLSZ.
  • Long term goals of 1:1 Program: Creative thinking, self-direct learning and mastery
  • Short term goals of 1:1 Program: Excel in academics
  • Responsible use of the mobile learning device (MLD) – should focus on the word “learning” in the term “learning device”
  • Strong home-school collaboration is needed for the program to work
  • Sooner or later, the place of the teacher will now be at the back of the classroom
  • The school uses less mobile management apps, but more home-school collaboration
  • The pilot phase of the program is “exploration” of the MLD as a learning tool
  • Challenges: Teacher training, home-school collaboration

Nanyang Girls School, Nanhua Primary School

After lunch, we proceeded to the Marina Barrage. We had a quick tour there and learned about how Singapore copes with the lack of fresh water. They are able to build technology to filtrate salt water to fresh water, and created a basin for rain water (which they emphasize as free fresh water) for distribution in Singapore. Aside from that, we had a great view of the Marina from the roof deck of the Barrage.
After the tour, we proceeded to a lecture room where all three groups gathered to listen to representatives from two other Singapore schools implementing the 1:1 program: Nanyang Girls School and Nanhua Primary School.

Nanyang Girls School, Mark Shone, ADE

Mark Shone, ADE, spoke to us about the principles behind the implementation of the 1:1 Program in Nanyang Girls school. Here are the highlights of his talk.
  • It’s not anymore Generation X, Y, or even Z, it’s now Generation IT
  • Technology is not anymore confined to just the Computer Laboratories, but is not brought into each classroom with the 1:1 program
  • iPad apps are very intuitive. There is no need to spend time to teach students how to use the app. Student learn already how to use them.
  • Students do become addicted to using the device. This is where home-school collaboration plays a big role in making the program successful.
  • Yes, students can become distracted using the learning device (because it is engaging); however, we have to remember that with or without it, distraction is a reality.
  • Some problems that we encounter is conflict with traditional exams and assessment forms.
  • Using learning devices will force the teacher to change how you teach, i.e., to teach more by talking less
Matthew, Music Teacher. Some tips and experiences.
  • Using the Garage Band app to make music.
  • Students post their work on wikis, and classmates are able to critique work
  • Rule: Critique your own work first before critiquing others’.
Mark, Physics Teacher. Some tips and experiences.
  • You can actually use Keynote for students to fill in the blanks by asking them to download your Keynote and answers can be clicked and dragged to the blanks, or they simply add words in the presentation
  • Students use clinometer to measure angle of the rocket launch, and use a motion analysis app to make a velocity time graph
  • Teachers can also record their lesson and upload it online and ask students to download re-learn the lesson
  • The problem is not the device (being distracting and addictive), but it is the users. Thus, we need to train the users to use the LD’s responsibly

Nanhua Primary School, Thomas

  • Technology is nothing without good pedagogy
  • Innovator of “A Classroom of Possibilities”
  • Technology can be used as a collaborative tool
  • With the 1:1 program, each student has a voice
  • “The fishbowl” environment/effect: When someone is looking at you, you do your best. Same when you publish your work online making your work available for others’ critiquing.

School of Science and Technology (SST)

The Vice President, Mrs. Chew Wai Lee, introduced us to the concept school they call School of Science and Technology.
  • The 1:1 program is not just about developing ICT or using the latest in ICT, but also about pedagogical training since teachers come in the school with different pedagogical styles.
  • Curriculum Framework: Applied Learning Approach. Engaging students in a 1:1 platform. “Student-fronted” curriculum. Students are self-directed, self-motivated learners guided by their teachers (who act as mentors).
  • Students receive guidance in using the learning devices.
  • Learning is dynamic. With the gadget, information is already at our fingertips. What teachers need to know now is to teach the students at the conceptual level (enduring understanding).
  • “Disciplinarity”: How each department/field sees the world is different. A maths person will see the world differently from a humanities person. How powerful our students will be if we teach them how to see the world from several point views.
  • Collaboration requires real knowledge on how to collaborate. This has to be taught.
  • Real-world context has to be used for “enduring understanding”
  • “Applied learning” is not the same as vocation training. Applied learning refers to the following facets: active, relevant, authentic, community-focused, integrated, learner-centered, and process-focused.
  • School leaders do not have to be ICT experts. The role of school leaders is to support. You have to be able to say that ICT is non-negotiable, then set up structure and processes to enable the teachers to do what they need to do.
  • Teachers are resistant to technology not because they don’t want it, but they just have not seen what it can do.
  • ICT is useless if you don’t have mastery and pedagogical knowledge.
  • Challenge-based learning.

Mr. Johari, Math teacher

  • In Math, drills are still important.
  • With the device, or students being online, each student has a voice. Students can ask questions, and give their opinion.
  • Math should be contextualized. Teacher must be able to put the formulae into real world (accessible world) situations. For example, you present to the students the idea that the ground has to be level. Then you ask, “But how do you ensure that the ground is level, and not hilly?” Just with this question, students are challenged to think logically and apply mathematical assumptions into real world situations.
  • Teachers start with pedagogy. Teachers make a decision that the lesson has to be collaborative. From the choice of pedagogy, the teacher decides what devices, software is needed to work collaboratively. In collaborative learning, peer assessment is a component.
  • Technology is just a vehicle from point A to point B. Pedagogy is the driver.
  • Since each student now has a voice, collaborative outputs is the key to grading easily.
  • With 1:1 program, teachers can now focus more on individual learners’ problems in understanding the concept.
  • Important: The device is not the students’ but the parents’. The parents have to take charge in monitoring and restricting the use of the learning device.
In a nutshell:
1:1 Program                                         1 Macbook : 1 Student
Curriculum Framework                   Challenge-based, Applied Learning Approach, Collaborative Learning
1:1 Users                                               All levels
Who buys units                                  Parents buy for their children
Bandwidth                                           Unknown
Classroom Setup                               LCD Projector, Speakers
Security                                                 Lockers outside classrooms
Software                                               Google Docs
Tech Support                                      In-house servicing for a fee
Teacher Training                                Regular subject meetings to share and plan lessons
Challenges                                           Teacher training

Edgefield Secondary School

The last school we visited is the Edgefield Secondary School. This school specializes on implementing a Challenge-based Learning approach.
Highlights of the school:
Students schedule includes a period dedicated only to Challenge-based Learning class. Almost allotting a UbD class as a separate and autonomous class.
Closely engaging with Apple Education Singapore for teacher training courses
CBL helps the students focus on universal challenges with local solutions.
CBL requires students to do something rather than just learn about something. 
Edgefield also compared Project-based Learning with Challenge-based learning:
Project-based Learning
Learning focused on expected outcomes
Problem-oriented, sometimes simulated
Limited access to information with technology
Activities and solutions may be somewhat scripted
Not easily scalable
Solution shared locally
Challenge-based Learning
Learning focused on Student-designed questions and solutions
Authentic, Real-world problems
Teacher as collaborator
24/7 access to tools, experts, and resources with technology
Created and open-ended activities and solutions
Scalable to a broader context the following school year
Solution published online (global access) and put into action
In a nutshell:
1:1 Program   1 Macbook : 1 Student
Curriculum Framework     Challenge-based Learning Framework, 5 Minds of the Future
1:1 Users Year 1 and Year 2 
Who buys units   Parents buy for their children
Bandwidth 100 MBPS/300 students
Classroom Setup   LCD Projector, Speakers
Security     Lockers outside classrooms (for securing units during recess and lunch)
Software   Google Docs, Wikis, iLife Suite, iWork, Logic Mills
Tech Support Unknown
Teacher Training Regular subject meetings to share and plan lessons
Challenges   Teacher training

Cupidtino: Dating site for Apple Fanboys and Fangirls

And so I thought there are just too many online dating sites. Here comes Cupidtino to add to that long list. Imagine, a specific dating site for – go figure – Apple fans! (“Cupidtino” is a pun for the famous address of the Apple headquarters, Cupertino.) Come to think of it, I think that’s a pretty viable idea. Apple users have somewhat become a cult and seeing a fellow Mac-user in Starbucks, for example, makes you feel like you’ve known the person for a long time. Seeing them makes you smile. Hey, it makes me somewhat smile, too!

Yeah, I’m a confessed Apple fangirl. 🙂 I have already owned three Macbooks to date: iBook G4, Macbook white, and now Macbook Aluminum. I have already owned two iPods: iPod 30GB and iPod Touch 16GB. Now, I have an iPhone 3GS 32GB (White). I have owned a Crumpler bag (which seems like the perfect bag for a Mac). I am a member of the Philippine Macintosh Users Group forum. I am also a member of the iPhone Jailbreaking cult at I have jailbroken iPod Touches of friends I have influenced into buying an Apple product. I am the unofficial Macbook IT professional in my workplace. My fellow Mac users (and I believe I was the first Apple user in my office) run to me for help, for the latest mac apps. I guess, yes, you just have to believe that I am an Apple fangirl. 🙂

As quoted in Mashable, Apple fans have a lot of things in common among them. There is a certain personality that makes a person prefer a Mac over a PC. And put two Apple fans in one room, they can talk about Apple accessories and peripherals all day long.

Apple fans are a minority that’s why it is refreshing to see other Apple users around — to talk to about their latest Apple finds and news. Apple fans find support in their (our) passion and addiction to the products. It’s just difficult to find someone to talk to about the “greatness” of Apple. Even the Chinese (imitators) look up to Apple because they are always the first in technological innovations. Come on, it was Apple’s idea to make the touchscreen work the way they should.

Will I join Cupidtino? Nah. I already have a handful of Mac fans to talk to. For a change, I would like to talk to a partner about his PC and brag and blog about my Mac.

Would you join Cupidtino? 🙂