Melissa Giddins

Exploring technology and literacy in education.

Laptops 4 Learning Project – Progress

Time has flown away as it always does in Term 2, with marking, reports, etc. Progress has been made, however, on the resources I am creating for the L4L project.  I guess here is also as good a place as any to mention that the L4L project is now known as part of the Digital Education Revolution (DER) and the L4L badge will slowly disappear.

I have created seven learning activities in addition to a unit of work at this stage. The seven learning activities are very briefly explained as follows:

1. Annotated Bibliography – Students create an annotated bibliography to capture resources for a variety of purposes. Students can record their bibliography using a social bookmarking site such as Delicious. Purposes can include:

  • Exploring a theme or area of study
  • Finding appropriations of a particular work
  • Tracking and explaining the treatment of a common theme or idea in a range of texts
  • Identifying and describing similarities and differences between and among texts.

2. Flow Charts – Students use the Smart Art function of Microsoft Word 2007 to create flow charts for character relationships, event sequencing, etc. Students can create flowcharts based on existing texts they have read or as preparation for a story they are writing themselves.

3. Performance Poetry – Students experiment with different ways of speaking a poem and analyse the effect this has on the meaning for the responder.  Students record their experiments using Audacity or a webcam. Students can experiment in a number of ways:

  • changing the emphasis on particular words
  • reading with different emotional tones: angry, sad, joyful, etc
  • reading at different speeds or in a variety of rhythms
  • emphasising pauses and exaggerating tones and sound devices

 Students then listen or watch their performance on their laptop and analyse the effect the changes have on the meaning being shaped for the responder.  Students can then record their analysis in writing on Word, as a recorded audio file or as a video diary and email to the teacher.

4. Show Not Tell – Students identify parts of a narrative text that ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’ about the character, setting, background, plot, etc. Students use the Microsoft Word program to highlight these parts and then write their own paragraphs that explore the art of ‘showing’ rather than ‘telling’.

5. Student Podcasting – Students create a session from a radio show and record it as a podcast. Students use the session to interview the author and/or characters from a novel. They must incorporate appropriate music and/or sound effects and conduct the interview in a manner appropriate to purpose, audience and context.

6. Video Diaries – students use the webcam built in to their laptops to create a video diary (like those seen in various reality television shows). Regular entries are recorded in the diary over a period of time. Students make diary entries in response to stimulus questions provided by the teacher. Teachers should decide the minimum and maximum length of the diary entries (for example 1 – 3 minutes), how many diary entries are required for the series to be completed (for example, 3 – 5) and what content they are expecting from the diary entries. Suggestions for content:

  • students use the video diary as a journal to record their growing understanding of an Area of Study concept
  • Students record video entries that answer a stimulus question set by the teacher, exploring their personal response to a text and how it reflects their own context, the values expressed and their own values, and the relationship of the content and ideas of the text to the world beyond the text.
  • students explore the text from different reading positions, with a diary entry for each position.
  • students explore similarities and differences in texts, using the diary entries to investigate and create connections between texts.

7. Video diaries as character – same as previous with different suggestions for content:

  • Students simply speak as though they are the character at various points in the novel or play. The points can be designated by the teacher or left up to the student to choose.
  • students record video entries that answer a stimulus question set by the teacher, answering as the character.
  • a single diary entry can be made from the character’s perspective at the end of the novel or play, an extended response that could incorporate the ‘next chapter/scene’ or be a ‘summary’ of the feelings the character has experienced durin the course of the novel or play.

I will do another post discussing the unit of work, and how that unit is going teaching it to my Year 10 English class.

The first drafts of the learning activities have been submitted and I am currently working on polishing after feedback. The complete learning activities and units of work will be available online on the Curriculum Support website in Term 3.  Will post the link on the blog when all the units and learning activities are published. In the meantime, take any ideas you wish!



June 16, 2009 - Posted by | Laptops 4 Learning |


  1. WOW! You have been busy!

    This all sounds extremely exciting I can’t wait to sink my teeth into it all!

    Look forward to seeing this unit of work too!

    Comment by Kate | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  2. Double WOW – I am really looking forward to seeing your curriculum resources

    Comment by Julie Haeusler | June 18, 2009 | Reply

  3. […] activities for English. A previous post detailed the first seven lesson activities that I created: and now this post will detail the latest activities I have created (and they will possibly the […]

    Pingback by DERNSW – Progress Update on the Project « Mel’s Manic Mutterings | July 3, 2009 | Reply

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