Augmented Reality

The use of augmented reality has increased significantly within primary classrooms (Kerawalla, Luckin, Seljeflot & Woolard, 2006). Augmented reality is the addition of virtual elements within our views of the world in real time (Mota, Ruiz-Rube, Dodero & Arnedillo-Sanchez, 2017). Alhumaidan, Ying Lo and Selby (2017) suggest that  augmented reality engages students in meaningful ways and engages students effectively.

Augmented reality is suggested to be an effective tool for fostering students’ creativity as there are many uses of the technology that allow for problem solving and higher order thinking skills (Kerawalla et al., 2006). Moreover, Alhumaidan, Ying Lo and Selby (2017) suggest that augmented reality allows for multiple users at once which can engage students in collaborative learning, where students must communicate and problem solve to work effectively. Moreover, students’ creativity is developed by allowing students to experience learning from perspectives and places that would have not been possible otherwise. In this respect, students are able to develop empathy that can assist in students’ being creative and active global citizens (Kerawalla et al., 2006).

Moreover, augmented reality has meant that teacher’s can engage students in fostering a love of learning and understanding concepts that are traditionally abstract (Mota, et al., 2017).

This is an engaging TEDtalk that discusses how Augmented reality is changing education.

An effective use of augmented reality within the primary classroom could be the use of the application PaintSpace AR. 


Here is an example I created of 3D shapes in my own environment using the PaintSpace AR app. 

This app allows students to create 3D artworks within their own environment. While this app could be used in art to create real life artworks, such as in an exploration of line within the Art syllabus, it could also be effective in teaching 3D shapes in Mathematics. The app could allow students to create the shapes in real life and explore them through the iPad display, giving students the ability to count faces, edges and vertices.

Augmented reality has great potential for engaging and motivating students across a range of learning areas.


Here are some other AR experiences I was fortunate enough to explore:


Exploring the HP Reveal App. 


Exploring the NASA App that allows students to engage with the NASA technology.




Alhumaidan, H., Ying Lo, K., & Selby, A. (2017). Co-designing with children a collaborative augmented reality book based on a primary school textbook. International Journal of Child- Computer Interaction, 15, 24-36.

Kerawalla, L., Luckin, R., Seljeflot, S., & Woolard, A. (2006). “Making it real”: Exploring the potential of augmented reality for  teaching primary school science. Virtual Reality, 10(3), 163-174.

Mota, J., Ruiz-Rube, I., Dodero, J., & Arnedillo-Sanchez, I. (2017). Augmented Reality Mobile App Development for all. Computers and Electrical Engineering, 65, 250-260.

TEDx Talks (2017). How Augmented Reality Will Change Education Completely I Florian Radke T TEDxGateway. Retrieved fromSean VanGernderen (2014). What is Design Thinking? Retrieved from



Within education there has been an increasing push towards STEM education (Blackley, Sheffield, Maynard, Koul, & Walker 2017), as a means of developing students’ twenty first century learning skills, such as problem solving, collaborative learning and creativity. Blackley et al. (2017) suggests that there is need for the authentically integrated STEM education to engage students in ‘rich tasks’ that helps to foster student’s future learning outside of the classroom (Sheffield, Koul, Blackley & Maynard, 2017). The use of Makerspaces allows students to apply their knowledge to engage in the design process to create real-world solutions and artefacts (Blackley et al., 2017).


Makerspaces are specifically designed spaces that are utilised to support the students as a maker through the design process from planning to creation (Blackley et al., 2017; Wolven, 2017). Makerspaces allow students’ to develop their creativity by using problems cling to create real-world solutions to problems through hands on creative processes (Blackley et al., 2017; Wolven, 2017).

Makerspaces is based on the pedagogical approaches of experiential learning, where students learn by doing and constructivism, as Papert suggested, students’ learning is built as they construct physical artefacts (Blackley et al., 2017). Moreover, Sheffield et al. (2017) suggests that when STEM and Makerspace are integrated, students are positioned to utilise knowledge and skills from a range of areas to create, construct and critique a product that has real world use.

Makerspaces allow students to work independently, or collaboratively using their interests to inform their creativity while learning to utilise new tools (Wolven, 2017) while fostering a growth mindset while experimenting and taking risks.

Blockley et al. (2017) suggests that pre-service teachers need exposure to the benefits of Makerspace. This was especially beneficial to see how specific technologies could be included to help foster students’ creativity. One example was the use of 3D pens, which could be used in primary English classes whereby students are encouraged to create the artefacts from their class text. The students’ would need to work collaboratively to designate roles, as well as use problem solving to construct the structurally sound artefacts (Wolven, 2017).

Here are some examples designed be pre-service teachers: IMG_1293.jpg IMG_1291.jpg  IMG_1299.jpg




Blackley, S., Sheffield, R., Maynard, N., Koul, R., & Walker, R. (2017). Makerspace and Reflective Practice: Advancing Pre-Service Teachers in STEM Education. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 42(3).

Sheffield, R., Koul, R., Blackley, S. & Maynard, N. (2017). Makerspace in STEM for girls: A physical  space to develop twenty first century skills. Educational Media International, 52(2), 148-164.

Wolven, R. (2017). Makerspace: Starting small. FYI: The Journal for the School Information Professional, 21(2), 12-14.


When teachers introduce robotics into the classroom they are providing students with opportunities for hands-on engagement with their learning (Chandra, 2011). Robotics draws on constructivist pedagogy, whereby students’ knowledge is developed in accordance with their experiences (Chandra, 2011), and students’ experiences with robots enhance their creativity. 

Chandra (2011) suggests that the integration of robotics engages students in developed critical twenty first century skills, such as problem solving and creative thinking. Robotics allows students to solve challenges from abstract to tangible, ultimately simplifying problem solving (Chandra, 2011). 


Chandra (2011) suggests that the integration of robotics engages students in developed critical twenty first century skills, such as problem solving and creative thinking. Robotics allows students to solve challenges from abstract to tangible, ultimately simplifying problem solving (Chandra, 2011). 


Robotics can also act as a model or tangible artefact when teaching abstract concepts (Chandra, 2011), specifically in mathematics, science and technology (Scardozi, Sorbi, Pedale Valzano & Cinzia (2015). Moreover, Burrett (2015) suggests that robotics align with the Australian Curriculum focus on inquiry skills, by engaging students in student-driven and centred learning. Chandra and Vinesh (2014) further suggest the significance of robotics on students’ literacy skills, positing that these develop through oral communication with peers, print literacy as students learn, and digital literacies. 

An obvious benefit of robotics in the classroom is increasing student engagement (Baxter, Ashurst, Read, Kennedy & Belpaeme, 2017). Chandra (2011) suggests that students engagement and motivation are enhanced with the introduction of robotics. Moreover, Chandra, Vinesh (2014) suggest that robotics activities in class encourage teamwork and collaborative learning. Through this process students are able to gain new perspectives, which allows for the fostering of creativity (Chandra & Vinesh, 2014).

An example of Robotics use in the primary classroom includes the use of Dash and Dot, two robots made specifically for children. By utilising Dash and Dot in the classroom, students not only engage in coding skills, but also young students can develop their fine motor skills, by drawing the pathways for the robots to follow. This could be done when teaching students the letters and requiring students to draw the letters on the iPad for Dash and Dot to execute.

Here are some other Robotics experiences we had in class.




Baxter, P., Ashurst, E., Read, R., Kennedy, J., & Belpaeme, T. (2017). Robot Education Peers in a Situated Primary School Study: Personalisation Promotes Child Learning. PLOS ONE, 12(5).

Burrett, K. (2015) Robotics and coding; Inspiring future learning. Scan, 34(4), 33-38.

Chandra, V. (2014). Developing students’ technological literacy through robotics activities. Literacy Learning: The Middle Years, 22(3), 24-29.

Chandra, V. (2011). Integrating Robotics in Primary School Activities. Professional Magazine, 26, 1328-9780.

Scardozzi, D., Sorbi, L., Pedale, A., Valzano, M., & Vergine, C. (2015). Teaching robotics at the primary school: An innovative approach. Procedia – Social and Behavioural Sciences, 174, 3838-3846.

Wonder Workshop. (2014). Wonder Workshop – Robots helping kids learn to code. Retrieved from

Game based learning

Games have forever had an impact on education but games based learning is an environment in which game content and play develops knowledge and skills, challenging students and providing a sense of achievement (Qian & Clark, 2016). Academic literature has found that games within education have been found to have a key role in students’ engagement (Hamari, Shernoff, Roew, Coller, Asbell-Clarke & Edwards, 2016; Pernin, Mariasis, Michau, Emin, Martinez & Mandran, 2014).


As teachers it is important to recognise the features of an effective educational game, to ensure that students engage not just for enjoyment, but for learning (Mayer, 2016). Kao, Chiang and Sun (2017) note that effective features of educational games include goals, interactivity, feedback and challenges. Specifically, challenges engage and motivate students (Kao, Chiang and Sun, 2017; Perrin et al., 2014), while challenges are adaptable to students’ prior knowledge and abilities (Mayer, 2016).

When effective use is made of games based education students are able to gain many 21st century skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, cooperative learning and a positive learning environment (Hamari et al.,  2016; Barzilai & Blau, 2014). By having tangible challenges students are able to maintain engagement and have a sense of achievement and self pride, which ultimately leads to positive attitudes throughout the classroom through situated learning which can allow students to take their learning beyond the classroom. 

This video highlights the features of Games based learning and how it is different to Gamification. 

Games based learning engages students creativity through use of problem solving and critical thinking skills (Barzalai & Blau, 2014), by providing students with opportunities to utilise divergent thinking in cooperative learning experiences.

An example of a useful educational game is Minecraft. Minecraft is a game that engages students in critical decision making, and divergent thinking. Minecraft created an Education Edition, which allows teachers to align the game play with curriculum objectives and learning outcomes (mayer, 2016). Minecraft allows teachers to share their own classroom experiences and lesson plans, in a range of subjects, such as Writing. An effective lesson using Minecraft may include having students write a plan for their Minecraft Narrative they will ultimately create. Students can adapt their narratives as they play, according to the challenges they face. This lesson strategy can be done in collaborative teams or individually.


When effective games-based learning is implemented there is cohesion between the curriculum and content, while allowing students to engage in challenging problem solving and creative thinking.

This video provides further insights into how Minecraft is changing the way students are learning. 



Barzilai, & Blau. (2014). Scaffolding game-based learning: Impact on learning achievements, perceived learning, and game experiences. Computers & Education, 70, 65-79.

Gamelearn (2014). What is game-based learning? Retrieved from

Hamari, Shernoff, Rowe, Coller, Asbell-Clarke, & Edwards. (2016). Challenging games help students learn: An empirical study on engagement, flow and immersion in game-based learning. Computers in Human Behavior, 54, 170-179.

Kao, Chiang, & Sun. (2017). Customizing scaffolds for game-based learning in physics: Impacts on knowledge acquisition and game design creativity. Computers & Education, 113, 294-312.

Mayer, R. E. (2016). What Should Be the Role of Computer Games in Education?. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 3(1), 20-26.

Minecraft: Education Edition. (2016). Minecraft: Education Edition. Retrieved from

Pernin, J., Mariais, C., Michau, F., Emin-Martinez, V., & Mandran, N. (2014). Using game mechanisms to foster GBL designers’ cooperation and creativity. Int. J. of Learning Technology, 9(2), 139.

Qian, & Clark. (2016). Game-based Learning and 21st century skills: A review of recent research. Computers in Human Behavior, 63, 50-58.

Computational thinking

Computational thinking involves a set of skills that assists students and computer scientists alike to solve complex problems (Wang, Wang & Liu, 2013). The computational thinking process involves decomposition, pattern recognition, abstraction and algorithmic design (Doleck, Bazelais, Lemay, Saxena & Basnet, 2017).

Doleck, Bazelais, Lemay, Saxena and Basnet (2017) suggest that creativity is a integral aspect of critical thinking and thus computational thinking. Moreover, it is suggested that when students are formulating solutions through use of computational skills and processes, they are engaging in creative processes. Computing and programming allows students to develop their creativity by having autonomy and independence in solving problems (Soh, Shell, Ingraham, Ramsay & Moore, 2015).


This video explores how Google uses computational thinking to solve problems they face, and how this is echoed in the classroom. 

When computational thinking is used within the classroom students are provided with opportunities to develop critical skills that are relevant to the 21st century (Doleck, Bazelais, Lemay, Saxena & Basnet, 2017). Students are able to engage in collaborative problem solving, which is a major aspect of computational thinking. Through this collaborative work students are able to engage in metacognitive thinking, to reflect on their own and peers’ works. Furthermore, critical thinking is suggested to be a key part of computational thinking (Doleck, Bazelais, Lemay, Saxena & Basnet, 2017). Developing critical thinking skills allows us to think on deeper levels, evaluate problems and the effectiveness of our suggested solutions (Wang, Wang and Liu (2013).

An interesting application of computational thinking in schools is through the use of coding programs. For example, Ozobot is an engaging and exciting method of applying programming and coding in ways that are tangible for students. Ozobots can be used in various ways in the classroom. For example in the infant years of primary school, students can learn handwriting by programming the Ozobot to follow the path of the letters they draw on either paper or the Ipad using the Ozoblockly programming software. Through use of the Ozobot, programming and can be integrated into curriculum areas, such as Mathematics. When teaching students about directions and maps, students can use Ozobots to program in directions along a map integrating mathematical terms, such as parallel lines and lengths.

This video provides examples how programming is taught through use of Ozobot, and how it can be used within the classroom. 



Extra Resources:

Here are further resources that Ozobot have published with practical classroom uses of Ozobots.

Ozobot resource page


Doleck, T., Bazelais, P., Lemay, D., Saxena, J., & Basnet, A. (2017). Algorithmic thinking, cooperativity, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving: Exploring the relationship between computational thinking skills and academic performance. Journal of Computers in Education, 4(4), 355-369.

Google for Education (2012). Solving Problems at Google Using Computational Thinking. Retrieved from

Ozobot (2015). Ozobot – It’s Your Move. Retrieved from

Soh, L., Shell, D., Ingraham, E., Ramsay, S., & Moore, B. (2015). Learning through computational creativity. Communications of the ACM, 58(8), 33-35.

Wang, Danli, Wang, Tingting, & Liu, Zhen. (2014). A Tangible Programming Tool for Children to Cultivate Computational Thinking. The Scientific World Journal, 2014, 10.




Design based thinking and 3D printers

Teaching by design is a relatively new approach to pedagogy which invites open-ended questioning and problem solving (Fouché and Crowley, 2017). Wrigley (2017) suggests that when design is used in conjunction with problem solving  and decision making it has an increasingly beneficial role in society.

There are many benefits to utilising design based thinking in today’s classrooms. Jun, Han and Kim (2017) found that design based thinking increased students’ self-efficacy and that when paired with programming education, with the use of ICT, students become more aware and understanding of the notion of computers and devices as creative tools.


Design based thinking within the classroom allows students to use problem solving skills and collaboration to work through the five phases of the design process, (1) discovery, (2) interpretation, (3) Ideation, (4) Experimentation, and (5) Evolution. Through these steps students enhance their skills required by 21st century thinking and process (Jun, Han and Kim, 2017). Moreover, through this process students are engaging in metacognitive thinking, and students are able to engage in applying content knowledge and skills to relevant and interesting issues (Fouché and Crowley, 2017).


Within design base thinking, there is the need for students to work with new materials to solve problems that have more than one solution (Fouché and Crowley, 2017). An effective technology use that students could engage with is a 3D printer. Wilson (2013) suggests that the decrease of cost for 3D printers can allow students to create tangible version of their ideas and drawings. Thereby, 3D printers assist in bridging the gap between virtual and real world (Wilson, 2013). Wilson (2013) outlines various benefits of 3D printers in schools, suggesting it has cross curricula potential, and that the current technology has been effective in creating excitement around computing.

So, how does design based thinking and 3D printers foster creativity in classrooms?

Ultimately, when teachers combine design based thinking with 3D printers students are given opportunities to engage in cross curriculum thinking (Shelly, Anzalone, Wijnen and Pearce, 2015), with the freedom of hypothesising their own solutions. Moreover, 3D printers allow students to make use of technology that they may not know, which allows for self directed learning (Shelly, Anzalone, Wijnen and Pearce, 2015). Through the use of open-ended tasks utilised in design based thinking, students are able to think uniquely about relevant issues, and instead of reading about other’s solutions, they are able to work collaboratively to create their own approach (Jun, Han and Kim, 2017).


Here is a short video that details how design based thinking is being used in multiple areas. 


Fouché, Jaunine, & Crowley, Joel. (2017). Kidding around with Design Thinking. Educational Leadership, 75(2), 65-69.

Jun, S., Han, S., & Kim, S. (2017). Effect of design-based learning on improving computational thinking. Behaviour & Information Technology, 36(1), 43-53.

Schelly, Anzalone, Wijnen, & Pearce. (2015). Open-source 3-D printing technologies for education: Bringing additive manufacturing to the classroom. Journal of Visual Languages and Computing, 28, 226-237.

Sean VanGernderen (2014). What is Design Thinking? Retrieved from

Wilson, Lyndal. (2013). A new dimension : The use of 3D printing in schools. Independence, 38(2), 26,28-32.

Wrigley, Derek F. (2017). Design-based thinking in our schools. Artichoke, (59), 14.



One of the major factors that determines the engagement of technology in the classroom is personalisation (Domingo & Gargante, 2016), in which the educational technology allows for student freedom and creativity. Scratch, designed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is an animation creation program that allows students and teachers to create their own interactive stories, games and animations (MIT, 2007). Scratch allows for students to develop twenty-first century technological skills, including creative thinking, reasoning, problem solving and working collaboratively (Kim, Park, Yoo & Kim, 2016; Aliusta & Ozer, 2017).

Through Scratch, educators are able to foster creativity, as it provides adequate freedom and problem solving, through which each student creates their own individualised final product (Domingo & Gargante, 2016). An example of Scratch being used in a classroom is by allowing students to create their own endings to popular stories. Students are able to plan and draft their story ending and to finally animate it. Scratch allows users to share their projects, which could make for effective peer feedback (Demir, 2018; Lui & Li, 2014). Peer assessment is found to encourage students to reevaluate their own work, thus engaging students in critical thinking (Yu & Wu, 2011).

Moreover, through publishing students’ works, peers are able to interact on a technological level, which may ensure more amicable relationships within the classroom (Domingo & Gargante, 2016). The publishing aspect also allows students to ‘remix’ others works to create their own adaptation of the work, which could be useful in engaging students in collaborative work. Another benefit to Scratch is that it can be used on any device, which allows for more access for more students (Kim, Park, Yoo & Kim, 2016)

While Scratch has many benefits in the classroom it does require support and guidance for beginners. Scratch, fortunately does provide many tutorials across various contexts. Students can also be encouraged to explore the program during free time to develop their own skills through student centred learning (Aliusta & Ozer, 2017). MIT also made it easier for students to use, by presenting the commands and sounds in simple english (Gough 2012).

Ultimately, Scratch allows for students to feel a sense of pride in their own unique works, while developing critical 21st century skills.



Demir, M. (2018). Using online peer assessment in an Instructional Technology and Material Design course through social media. Higher Education, 75(3), 399-414.

Domingo, & Garganté. (2016). Exploring the use of educational technology in primary education: Teachers’ perception of mobile technology learning impacts and applications’ use in the classroom. Computers in Human Behavior, 56, 21-28.

Gough, John. (2012). Hooray for Scratch (MIT) software – good old logo still going strong! Prime Number, 27(4), 17-19.

Kim, Hye Jeong, Park, Ji Hyeon, Yoo, Sungae, & Kim, Hyeoncheol. (2016). Fostering Creativity in Tablet-Based Interactive Classrooms. Educational Technology & Society, 19(3), 207-220.

Liu, Xiongyi, & Li, Lan. (2014). Assessment Training Effects on Student Assessment Skills and Task Performance in a Technology-Facilitated Peer Assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 39(3), 275-292.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). (2007). Scratch. Retrieved from

Onurkan Aliusta,  Gülen, & Özer, Bekir. (2017). Student-Centred Learning (SCL): Roles Changed? Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 23(4), 422-435.

Yu, Fu-Yun, & Wu, Chun-Ping. (2011). Different Identity Revelation Modes in an Online Peer-Assessment Learning Environment: Effects on Perceptions toward Assessors, Classroom Climate and Learning Activities. Computers & Education, 57(3), 2167-2177.