Tips and tricks for cutting edge educators

We’re hearing so many amazing results about how teachers are using DeforestACTION as a framework to create learning opportunities for young people. But how can you get your students involved?

Firstly – check out some of the teacher resources available here:

Resources for Primary/Elementary School

Resources for Secondary School

To really get collaborative, you can set up a virtual space in a secure online classroom. Get started now:

  1. Download the Teacher Guide and help your students register for DeforestACTION
  2. Create a primary school virtual classroom, and work with the students to design local project (see page 8 of the teacher guide for step by step instructions)
  3. Create a secondary school virtual classroom, and work with the students to design local project (see page 8 of the teacher guide for step by step instructions)
  4. Join a Global Collaboration, and work with other schools around the world toward a common goal (create a classroom above and you’ll be added automatically!)
  5. Take part in the global action and earn points for your students and your school as you learn.

The Main Event

Discover the future of education. Invite your whole team.
Main Event is a great opportunity for Principals, IT Managers and Curriculum Leads to mix with peers and return to work with fresh ideas.
Don’t miss it – Register Now!
Is it time for some inspirational professional development? Would you like to learn how to save your school money and time? Or discover exactly how technology is now being used to deliver the curriculum and improve learning outcomes in schools today?Main Event is a chance for your Principal or Curriculum Lead to experience the magic and simplicity of personalized 1-to-1 learning in a classroom environment using a tablet PC. An opportunity to learn from Principals, Innovative Teacher Award winners and educators who have hands-on experience using these transformational technologies.  
This following is reposted from the DeforestACTION blog  This problem based learning activity is a global collaboration of millions of kids working together to solve real global problems. The learning outcomes so far have been phenomenal.  Register your students at
In this photo: The King (Sultan Hamengku Bowono X) of Java broadcasting to 20,000 students from 29 countries in the DeforestAction web launch. – Photo by Josh Raymond
Don’t look to Obama or the UN to save the planet from deadly climate change. Look to the young people in your classrooms who joined the first DeforestAction live web event  from Borneo last week and to the millions of friends with whom they are collaborating.  They will be responsible for saving the planet – and it will only take them one year to do what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Chance (IPCC) has failed to do since it began.
Imagine if it was possible shut down every factory, car, truck, coal powered electricity station and every chainsaw in Australia (now rated the world’s highest CO2 emitter per head of population)  for one year.  This would save around 465 Million tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. If we could just convince Germany, Sweden and France to do the same, we could save around 3 billion tons of CO2 entering the atmosphere per year.
Alternatively, by stopping illegal deforestation in Borneo (92% of all logging in Borneo is illegal), in one  year we could save 3.5 billion tons of carbon being pumped into the atmosphere  – that’s more than the annual CO2 emissions of Sweden, Germany, France and Australia put together.
Last week in Indonesia, the DeforestAction team met with the Sultan of Java (Hamengku Bowono X), the Bupati of Sintang Borneo, the heads of the police, the military, the chiefs of the tribes, and the heads of the church, and received universal support for this project.
The Bupati of Sintang Borneo offers full military and governmental support to the DeforestAction team to stop deforestation
Their key message :
Indonesia desperately want to stop illegal deforestation but needs help to do this. If the DeforestAction team can provide reliable real time advice on where illegal deforestation is occuring, they will mobilize their army to arrest the criminals immediately.
Currently, there are millions of satellite photos taken every week.  Even the most powerful computers in the world are unable to sufficiently monitor the forest for illegal activity.  But, millions of students, with simple technology from Microsoft and Geodan, can provide exactly the right information, quickly and efficiently.
How will it work?
Using Bing Maps, some high level programming by Dutch company Geodan, and the latest satellite technology, the entire forest area of borneo will be divided into 30x30m blocks. This will move from restricted pilot to full version in April 2011 allowing all school students to participate.
Each student will be provided weekly images of their ‘patch’, and use a simple tool to inspect the images for inconsistencies.  For example, in the image below, this student identified some forest clearing.
Forest Monitoring
Students can monitor the forest from space and identify forest clearing. This data will be sent directly to a central point for validation.
Once change is detected, it is compared with the database of legal logging sites.  In this case, the logging has not been authorized.It is illegal!
  Legal Area comparisonsChange detection is mapped against known legal logging sites. In this case, there is no match – the logging is illegal.

 To verify the change, a lightweight plane “the Flying Dodo” will take low level, high definition photos of the site to verify the activity is illegal logging.

  Flight Path
A light weigh plane, “The Flying Dodo”, will follow a flight path across all detected areas to gain additional information
Once verified, the high definition photographs will be provided with exact coordinates to the military and the police. Young people around the world will be notified that illegal logging has been detected and reported.

 Confirmation of illegal logging

Within one week of reporting illegal activity, the perpetrators will be arrested, their equipment confiscated, and all students notified of the arrest.

Criminals illegally destroying forests in Borneo will be arrested and charged within one week of students detecting change on their machines at home or school.
Illegal deforestation will no longer be the safe, lucrative operation it currently is. Within one year, students will create a powerful deterrant mechanism to completely stop illegal deforestation. To learn more, visit or

Schools selected the issue, title and approach of DeforestAction (the Shout Pilot Project), and these schools (and their students) will be the driving storyline behind Borneo 3D: An Action Movie.  But, with millions of kids globally engaging in this initiative, how will the stars be selected, along with the schools, to feature in the movie?

Every action a student takes, whether it be raising money, connecting friends via Facebook / Twitter, avoiding products that use palm oil, and more, will lead to them accruing points.  Students with the highest point count will be invited to be considered for the movie.  Every point a studen earns adds points to their school total, so schools will be selected in the same way.

Earning PointsEarning Points to make it onto the silver screen

Earning points won’t just limit the user to opportunities to feature in a 3D movie.  Points will also be used to select which students and schools will be invited to participate in unique upportunities, like playing online games against orangutans, visiting various zoos around the world, and even opportunities for overseas travel.

Visit for a full explanation of how points can be earned, and to get your students involved today.

For more information, visit

Math 4.0

Microsoft Mathematics 4.0 is now available as a no charge download.

This new version of Maths is a serious upgrade to version 3.0, so if you haven’t already done so, download a copy now.  

Math 4.0 is designed to offer users a graphing calculator capable of plotting both in 2D and 3D, but also offering equation solving capabilities along with step-by-step instructions of the process.

There is a fantastic unit converter, and I like the triangle solver for it’s simplicity and ease of use.

Math 4 screenshot

The most powerful Math tool on the market

The calculator is just like a normal hand held, but a lot more powerful.  The tutorials and interventions are really powerful.
In addition, Microsoft Mathematics 4.0 comes packed with a range of additional tools that are bound to come in handy to students dealing with math and science studies.

It’s also really useful for parents who want to be able to assist their children with Mathematics.  It’s like a personal tutor on your PC.

Students can learn to solve equations step-by-step while gaining a better understanding of fundamental concepts in pre-algebra, algebra, trigonometry, physics, chemistry, and calculus.

It only takes a minute, and it’s no charge to download. Download your copy now.

Collaboration is King

Imagine if your students could co-create and collaborate on documents from anywhere, any time, and with anyone they needed to.  With some amazing new services called Live Web Apps, this is now possible, and it’s REALLY easy to do.

OK. So OneNote is still the best way ever to have students collaborate, but now, with the launch of the new Sky Drive and Web Apps, things just got a lot more interesting.

Office Web Apps work in all the main web browsers—Internet Explorer, Safari, and
Firefox. Now, teachers and students can use these online companions on virtually
any computer.  As always, Tablet PC (with digital stylus is the best way, because it allows teachers and students a whole range of additional creative options simply not available on touch only tablets, or ‘clam shell’ laptops.

  • Use for free. Office Web Apps are available free through Windows Live SkyDrive. To access Web Apps, teachers and students simply use a Windows Live account, such as Windows Live Hotmail, Xbox LIVE, or Windows Messenger.
  • Collaborate in real time. Teachers and students can easily work on PowerPoint, Word, Excel or OneNote files from school, home, the library, or virtually any computer with a supported web browser.
  • Enjoy equal access. Workgroups can collaborate—even if other teachers
    or students don’t have Microsoft Office installed and even if they have a
    different or older version of Microsoft Office.

This becomes even more powerful when you use a client (e.g. local copy of Microsoft Word, One Note etc) to edit or collaborate on a document stored in SkyDrive.  There is just no better way to collaborate.

If that all sounds a bit double dutch, check out the teacher guide ebook that explains how it all works and provides some great examples of how to use this in class.

Web Apps eBook

Learn how to empower your learners with the most powerful and easy to use collaborative tools for free.

Web Apps provide the most advanced, but easiest to use free cloud based tools for educators. It’s a game changer, so click here and check it out.

For the innovative educator looking for an entrepreneurial angle for development topics, why not consider working with your students to develop applications for the latest and greatest mobile phones?

Windows Phone 7 is the easiest smart phone on the market to use, and to develop apps for.  And, to make it easier, here are some resources to help you get started in class today.

Students at school can now quickly and easily develop apps for Windows Phone 7 devices.

For some really great resources to help incorporate the latest and greatest technologies into your classroom, check out these new Teacher Guides.

These new guides cover everything from critical thinking, digital storytelling and accessibility, through to movie making, search and product walkthroughs.

There’s multimedia, video and even some fantastic ebooks on each of the topics.

eBooks for educators

Download the eBooks for educators. Packed with great teaching and learning ideas.

The student lead DeforestAction project is ramping up, with the beta launch of the DeforestAction website ( now live.

If you haven’t already got your students on board with this project, the start of 2011 will be a good time.  Schools around the world have young people looking to collaborate on projects to halt the destruction of forests in Indonesia, and to save orangutans.  And – the new points system, designed by students from an Australian primary school mean that everyone who gets involved can earn points. Those with the most points will be invited to be in a documentary and 3D Action movie.

DeforestAction points

Earn points by raising money, spreading the word, being involved and making a difference.

Schools who participated in the pilot of the program in 2010 have reported unprecedented student outcomes, including through the roof data on numeracy and literacy.

To see the new teaser for the 3D movie, visit

I’ll keep you all posted on the project, but please take some time to visit the “For Educator” section at the bottom of  There’s  a lot of great stuff in there for you, with more coming on regularly.

An important part of planning a successful 1-to-1 student laptop program is determining which software is optional, which is preferred and which is a prerequisite for students and staff.

I like to challenge decision makers to be ruthless in this categorisation process and qualify something as a prerequisite only after strong debate and rigorous interrogation of the learning potential or personal productivity value of the software.

Selecting the right software is as important as selecting the right hardware and in many cases schools don’t need to buy extra software to maximise the learning experiences of their students and staff.

Microsoft OneNote is one of those products that always seem to make the prerequisite category in effective 1-to-1 programs, and OneNote 2010 will be more powerful again. Here are ten reasons why I believe this is the case, and why, in my opinion, OneNote is probably the single most valuable learning productivity software available to schools.

  1. It is the ultimate note-taking tool, bridging the book and digital paradigms. Whether you’re taking notes, compiling research for a project, or keeping an electronic folio of digital assets, OneNote has no peer. Notes taken in OneNote can be linked to audio (perfect for recording lectures and synchronising with notes), or linked to related documents (web pages, PowerPoint slides etc).
  2. OneNote provides a shoulder to shoulder experience any where, any time. We know the power of sitting together around a piece of paper, sketching ideas, sharing concepts, mapping thoughts.  But how do we experience this same free flowing sharing when we are too far away to reach the paper.  For example, if we’re on the other side of the world?  With OneNote and Tablet PC, people from all over the world can collaborate on the same piece of ‘digital paper’ as if sitting next to each other at the same desk.
  3. It supports complex teamwork and collaboration, allowing multiple users to create or share documents together in real time from anywhere. The easy to use collaborative features of OneNote are perfect for brain-storming; team projects (where a teacher can see exactly what each individual contributed and when), collaborative research, peer review / evaluation and more. OneNote makes Wikis alone look very old fashioned.
  4. It caters for multiple learning styles and needs. OneNote handles audio files, video files, text, picture and other forms of media, catering to visual, kinaesthetic and auditory learning styles. The pen function supports handwriting (perfect if you have a tablet PC) and even converts handwriting to text. These functions also make OneNote perfect for Maths, Science, graphic design, art or any other task that requires more than a keyboard to input.
  5. New education add-ins available in OneNote 2010, like the Maths Calculator add-in, makes teaching and learning more exciting and powerful. There is a suite of new educational tools and resources. It even includes a whole workbook of educational examples from other teachers, learning ideas and learning productivity ideas.
  6. It can explicitly facilitate higher order thinking processes so learning can occur within a structured thinking framework. For example, many teachers are setting up shared notebooks to reflect Edward Debono’s lateral thinking strategies (the topic of a future blog), creating a usable scaffold for students to operate within.
  7. It is available anytime, anywhere, allowing for a classroom unbound by time and place. Your OneNote files can now be accessed or shared with anywhere from Windows Live (the Cloud), regardless of what computer you are on or even whether you have OneNote installed.
  8. It helps keep you organised, with seamless integration to Outlook and the ability to quickly and efficiently search for notes, resources or ideas. You can even search for notes written by hand.
  9. It complements all other programs and becomes the Ultimate Aggregator with always on tools like the OneNote snipper (screen capture) tool (Windows+S) or the notes tool (Windows+n). Combine these features with the "Print to OneNote" function and OneNote becomes a digital repository for all your work in all your programs.
  10. It takes care of referencing, so you don’t have to spend time compiling a reference list or bibliography – OneNote does it automatically from a variety of sources.
  11. It is fun and engaging. The simplicity of the book metaphor and the power of the features listed above make OneNote a fun and exciting way to increase productivity.

Microsoft OneNote 2010 is like a really good movie. Once you’ve seen it, you can’t help rave about it.

But unlike a good movie, the more time you spend with OneNote, the more exciting it becomes.