Life Long Learning

by Howard Graham,

Sunshine Beach State School.

latest update 19th Feb 2012

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My email address hgrah10@eq.edu.au

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Learning is one of the most fundamental requirements of life.

It is about making a difference to life, personally, locally + globally. It’s about reflecting on the past, it’s about identifying problems and applying skills and knowledge to solve these problems.

It is about making a better world for everybody.

 I believe passionately that all people should be committed to life long learning



Teaching is all about inspiring young people to strive to achieve their maximum potential. While this sounds simple the process requires a complex set of skills and resources. It is this complexity and skill that makes this a fascinating and fulfilling profession.

Teachers make a difference!

Since I started teaching in 1982 I have seen huge changes in the way that educators interact with their students. While the content of science has changed very little the method of delivery and the perception of teacher has changed completely. By embracing technology teachers have become far more efficient and reflective. Stored lessons can be continually improved and refined. Teachers are no longer expected to be the masters of information . They can learn as they teach and they can respond to the needs of their students and create lessons real time.



The PC has shaped the way I teach since 1985.

The RML 380Z black box with key security (RML 380Z 32K)The first computer I used in the classroom.

Since 2004 I have had much greater access to ICT in the classroom and this has completely transformed the way I teach. Before 2004 I like most other teachers depended on textbooks, photocopied work sheets video and practical activities.

My briefcase has been replaced by a laptop. For the last four years every lesson has been created, presented and stored as a digital file. I am now confident that I can survive without paper resources. At the end of 2006 I filled up three wheelie bins with old files and text books. All of my senior subject lessons, assignments, marking criteria sheets and other resources are available for my students to use online.


All my students, like most teenagers, own MP3/MP4 audio/video players. Their mobile phones also have built in memory and varying levels of multimedia ability. I am keen to exploit this during lessons, assignment work and for revision. Students use SMS co-operating when gathering student survey information. They have recently used their mobile phones to film a Thermit reaction demonstration.

Burning methane video




By using the Internet, digital textbooks and Smart board software I am able to create lessons real-time if required.

Using the laptop, data projector and interactive white board dramatically improves the quality of my presentations. Because much of the material is from the internet it is usually more current. I am able to use animation and colour to improve the fun factor and student engagement. Because it encourages me to seek out new information. Smartboard software greatly improves teaching by allowing greater control of text size, focus and layering. I find that I am constantly learning and improving my problem solving ability. Using a laptop has meant that I have become much more organized and am less likely to lose that key piece of paper. Professional development happens daily.


I am now able to communicate ideas and information far more effectively. The visual quality and ability to move objects around the screen helps to make abstract ideas much more concrete in much less time. The students also respond because they can see that their teacher is more relaxed and is having more fun. You can base whole lessons on a single flash animation. Flash files swf take up very little space and usually work very quickly. You are now able to blend media easily and this caters for a wider range of learning styles.


I am hoping to develop my Flash skills during the next two years. It’s a product with almost unlimited educational potential. For those without quite enough skills you can of course search the internet for useful animated, interactive resources.

I thoroughly enjoy using the latest Smart Board software. It is very easy to use, features instant crop and paste from any screen and a huge number of add on images and learning objects. It is easily one of the most powerful teaching software packages available. The lessons I make using this software can easily be converted to a range of other file formats including PowerPoint, PDF and web pages. This makes sharing resources much easier

At the time of writing, version 10.05 of this software was available, it includes a huge 500Mb plus of built in items ready for instant use.

500Mb plus of ready to use resources (PRINT SCREEN) Smart Board resources available a click of a button


By using current web resources, online News broadcasts, video, animations + music I am more able to connect with my students. Students at Chancellor State College often have flexible timetables. If a student misses a session they can access a download later. I often use an iRiver E10 media player to record my voice during the lesson. I can easily upload these files to the internet. Students enjoy the extra support this provides. It also, naturally helps me because I can be certain that all my students get the same message and I don’t have to repeat myself.

Some audio + video examples here;



The 21st century learner/worker

I believe that ICT is breaking the traditional barriers and professional isolation associated with education.

 Information, communication and the tools for problem solving are more freely available. ICT provides the connection and flexible ways of learning. This is essential since school leavers have less certain career paths. They are more likely to work in teams and have the ability to respond to a changing workforce. We also need to be far more in tune with a global economy if they are to continue to be successful


How these beliefs impact on and are reflected in your teaching practice

    1. My problem solving skills.

Developing skills with ICT requires effort. There is no quick fix because you learn by doing. Using software is all about problem solving. If you are prepared to put the effort in you will find that it gets easier as you go along. ICT has a huge impact on your ability to solve problems. Perhaps in the near future teams of teachers will start to collaborate. We should all be able to use the internet to share resources. World class teaching resources could be created and distributed with a lot less effort. Just consider for a moment how much time talented educators spend creating digital resources around the World. If only we could find a forum for sharing it all.

Surely this is possible?

  1. Identify 3 positive changes to your teaching skill set as a result of increased ICT in teaching and learning process.

I can sum this up with the following.

ICT has dramatically changed my power to present information; it has dramatically improved my ability to explain; it gives my students continuous access to education.

  1. How has the curriculum delivery in your classroom changed as a result of ICT?

Lessons, comments, facts and information are no longer tied to a single moment in time (You can quote me on this!)
I am very excited about the way I teach and the possibilities for the future. You are literally limited only by your imagination.

Chancellor State College is committed to developing an International program. We have a number of international students who have joined us this year. This has added an exciting new dimension to our curriculum. I have found the Babel Fish translation service invaluable when translating some of the excellent German chemistry resources on the internet. The link for this resource has been added below


Here is an example of a lesson I have used recently which included a diagram labelled in German and a film from Germany demonstrating a chemical reaction (German dialogue) On this occasion our visiting German student took over leading with an excellent translation. This type of online resource offers a whole range of exciting possibilities.


Other comments

It’s important not to worry about digital devices. We should all consider their educational potential. We must embrace and exploit the internet. It is the ultimate resource and will continue to develop as key mode of communication. We cannot possibly be experts using every type of software. Teachers should concentrate on specifically designed educational software. I really enjoy using Smart board and Easiteach software. It is important for people to realise that you do not necessarily need and interactive white board to exploit their potential.

All teachers should develop web skills and learn how to use web building software. The most obvious are FrontPage or Dream Weaver (even Notepad will do) 

It is essential because it provides your platform to connect with other people.

  1. How has the knowledge era exploded as a result of ICT? Explain how this will shape the future of education in your classroom.

When I was at High School we all seemed to work a lot harder gathering knowledge. The knowledge came from the teacher or from our well thumbed textbooks. Successful students were masters of working with printed text, and find resources at the library.

My current Year 11 students seem to be far more relaxed because information is a lot “cheaper” and easier to find. This easy access has many problems. Today students need to be more concerned about the credibility of the “facts” they are reading. They also need to find ways of fine tuning their internet searches.

I am very excited about the prospect of all students having their own laptops.
Imagine the following possibilities.

Students would have the following capabilities:

  1. Have all their textbooks and exercise books all the time.
  2. They would have access to all of last year’s work.
  3. They could communicate + collaborate effectively
  4. They would have their own TV and be able to view multimedia all together or all at different times.
  5. They would have the tools to record all sorts of data. (for example record and plot science experiment results)
  6. They could use video conferencing
  7. They could record and replay their favourite lessons
  8. They could share files by infrared or Bluetooth
  9. Students would have no problem taking work and assignments home
  10.  Students could access school files from home via secure Intranet connection


  1. To maximise learning through ICT, Professional Development must be a key focus.
    1. How has this occurred for you?

I have been actively participating in professional development since the late 1990s. I have had formal training in Network administration, Excel, Access, Visual Basic, FrontPage, Smartboard, and Microsoft A+. I am very keen to develop skills in Macromedia Flash, + active web pages.

    1. How have you contributed to the growth of colleagues?

I am passionate about the educational impact of ICT. My colleagues recognise this and I am always willing to share ideas and examples. I have had the opportunity to run a number of professional development sessions in web design and Smart board software. I recently held a session on how to increase the fun factor and impact of ICT to a group of senior teachers.

My current interests involve the use of web cams, MP3 players, interactive white boards and the new German software “CrazyTalk”. The latter lets you animate any picture to create the illusion of speech. You can then add audio and other images to create entertaining educational movie clips or web pages. I have a number of examples on my website. I am also pleased to see that a number of teachers at Chancellor State College have started to experiment with its potential.

  1. Where do you see the growth of curriculum (through ICT) into the future?

Given time and appropriate professional development all teachers should feel empowered by the potential of ICT. The next step is to provide all students with laptops or PDAs. Schools will be keen to maximise the educational potential of these devices. I believe that potential will only be fully utilized if each subject area integrates ICT into its curriculum.

Like minded teachers have the tools; we must start collaborating and sharing more.

Technology is about working smarter not harder.





A Brief Overview of my Career


1982-1984 Kent

I was employed by Bexley Education Authority (SE London UK) as an assistant teacher of Science and Chemistry at St Mary’s and St Joseph’s Grammar School, Sidcup Kent. Although inexperienced I was given a top class A level Chemistry group of eight students. 7 out of 8 achieved grade A the other a grade B. The Head of Chemistry was Ms Jo Sikabonyi and she gave me a superb start to my teaching Career.


Click to visit website St Mary's and St Josephs RC Grammar School, Sidcup, Kent

ICICT use at my first school = nil e;T use;

 Nil. However, I did remember seeing a new 32K Research Machine RML 380Z


The Misbourne School Bucks UK

Misbourne School, Great Missenden, Bucks

The RML 380Z black box with key security

I used the RML 380Z to run very basic balancing chemical equation software in 1985. Email + the Internet are still many years away!!

1984- 1989 Misbourne School, Great Missenden, Bucks

I was appointed as Head of Chemistry at the Misbourne School (Buckinghamshire UK). I am still in contact with a number of teachers at this School. During this 5 year period I was also appointed as Head of Careers Education. It was during this period that I became interested in the use of computing and I often used rather primitive balancing equation software shown on a TV monitor during science lessons. I also introduced JIIG-CAL a computer based careers program to the Year 10s at the school. This was a great success. I also doubled the numbers of Students taking senior chemistry in Years 12 and 13 (lower and upper sixth)

1987 on one of my favourite beaches


Howard in 1987 click link to see how CrazyTalk software can bring old photos to life

ICT use at this time;

During this period I did experiment with using balancing Chemical equation software. I was using a RML 380Z and this was connected to a large television.

I did introduce the school to JIIG –CAL (Jobs Ideas and information generator-Computer assisted learning)

Science department teachers did use primitive green screen Amstrad computers to create important documents. The floppy disks were very fragile and held about 700K

I also bought my first PC, an Olivetti PC1. It had an orange display and 512K memory. I experimented with “First Choice” and wondered if it could possibly get better.

Earlham School Norwich

The Earlham School, Eaton, Norwich, Norfolk

1990 Norwich Norfolk

I was appointed briefly at Earlham School Norwich UK as a joint Head of Science. My time at this School was cut short when we received a green light for our migration to Australia (August 3rd 1990)

ICT use:
I continued to experiment with “First Choice” software

St Hilds Anglican School for Girls Perth WA

St Hilda's Anglican School for Girls

1991-1992 Perth Western Australia

I was appointed as a Teacher of Science at

St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls

During this time I introduced a new science course for junior students (Years 6 and 7). This was based on the Science in Process booklets (UK). Part of the introduction included giving a 30 min presentation to approx 150 parents in the main school hall. I continued to be involved with senior chemistry preparing students for their TEE (Western Australia)

ICT use;

There was a great emphasize placed on information technology and I was one of the first teachers at this school to teach a class of Year 8 science students each with their own lap tops. Teachers used Apple Two computers to produce important documents

Armadale Senior High School Perth WA

Armadale Senior High School

1992- 2000 Armadale, Western Australia

I spent eight years at Armadale Senior High School. While acting as a science and chemistry teacher, I developed a new Senior Science course. I was a founding member of the Fire Up team. This was a group of three teachers who had sole responsibility for 50 “failed” senior students. It was at this time that I became interested in cross curricular courses. I developed a basic but relevant science and math’s course for these students. It also allowed me to work closely with careers guidance, work experience visits etc.

Network News

During 1997 the Principal Mr. Glen Diggins asked me with one other teacher to introduce Performance Management for all teachers at the School.

ICT use;

I dazzled the science teachers with my ability with “First Choice” running on 286 and 386 computers.

I was dazzled when I saw my first PowerPoint presentation during 1997. Phil Joppek the Deputy Principal was also into ICT. The MP3 had been invented in Germany.

Between 1998 and 2000 I was given the role of Network Administrator with the brief to develop the School network of two hundred computers. It was at this time that I also became involved with teaching IT at the School. I was also responsible for the School website.

The MP3 had been invented in Germany. My senior students started to experiment with winamp and played MP3s. The iPod was still many years away

During my time at Armadale I taught a wide range of subjects including Multistand Science, Electronics, Senior Chemistry and Physics

Maroochydore State High School Queensland

Maroochydore State High School

2001- 2003 Maroochydore State High School Queensland

Year 8 ICT, Year 9 + 10 Integrated Science, Year 11 Chemistry, Year 11 IPT, I was also responsible for the School Website

ICT use;

 While at Maroochydore I produced a number of multimedia CD packages for the school. These include a digital record of the school science fair, an information CD for new teachers "start" and most recently a CD relating to the school's transition program. I was a serious PowerPoint user, interested in multimedia and video encoding

As a Senior Teacher I have sole responsibility for the School Website

Howard 2004 Howard 2004

2004-term 1 2010 Chancellor State College, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

(2004 Middle School Yr 8 teacher

2005-6 Middle School Year 9 teacher

2007 Senior School, Year 10 Science, Maths + ITS, Year 11 Chemistry

2008/9 Senior School Year 10 Science, ITS, Year 11 + 12 Chemistry)

I still own the purple 256Mb USB flash drive I was presented January 2004. At the time I could not possibly imagine filling such a huge device.

All rooms have data projectors

I have been using an interactive white board since 2005.

Every lesson uses ICT

Teaching and learning is very exciting


My SmartBoardMy briefcase?

My classroom at Chancellor 2009. The yellow rope light channels data into the SmartBoard

Term 2 2010 - current

I am currently based at Sunshine Beach State School acting in my new role as a Primary Science Facilitator. I am thoroughly enjoying this new role and I am working in a range of schools across the North Sunshine Coast

A picture of concentration, measuring micro litres during a recent PD


During the last six months I have created a number of webpages to help support Primary Science. Please refer to the links above or click here. These webpages are secure sites and you will require an EQ email address to access. If you are currently working within EQ and would like to be attached please contact me via email at hgrah10@eq.edu.au








Professional Development undertaken during 2011


PSF Conference Griffith University 3rd and 4th Feb 2011

web link here (certificates pending)

Curriculum Risk Management by Kim Bowes (Buderim Mountain State School) 24th Jan 2011 PDF



Professional Development undertaken during 2010


Data Logging ICTs and Unit writing Murrumba Downs 11 and 12th May 2010 PDF

Weeds and GTMJ workshop Murrumba Downs 25th June 2010 PDF

One School and Unit Writing Murrumba Downs 6th Aug 2010 PDF

Backyard Explorer and Sharing Resources One Mile State School 24th November 2010 PDF

Practical activities and Glogster 8th Dec 2010 Meridan State School PDF

Adapting to Climate Change PICSE (2 days) A/Prof David Russell (University of Tasmania) PDF

2 day course outline here

Picse newsletter Nov 2010 here

Smart Classrooms "Thinking Outloud" Tony Ryan, Gayleen Jackson PDF

Smart Classrooms "No Boundaries" Adrian Greig, Gayleen Jackson, Kristine Kopelke

2nd + 3rd Dec 2010 at USC ICT Centre PDF


13th April 2011 First Aid Training (Steps Employment Nambour) cert (7 hours)

18th and 19th April 2011 Slide To Learn Conference USC ICT Centre PDF weblink (15 hours)

11th -13th July 2011 Conasta 60 Darwin (24 hours)




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