Monday, 25 February 2013

6 month update! QR codes, minecraft and PIP

It has been a long while since out last post (August, 2012).  So, what prompted this post now? I stumbled upon the 2nd day of the #CSXII twitter handle today (12th Home Econonics Canadian Symposium. It's held every 2nd year) My twitter and instagram pals Melissa @MelissaEdstrom, Denise @dnembhard43 and Joesph @teachertong were tweeting away using #CSXII.  They were in Vancouver Canada and I was enjoying a late breakfast at home in Sydney, Australia. You gotta love twitter for these handy insights into PD all across the world!  Free, easy and enjoyable! What's not to love; really!

These teachers immensely love Home Economics. H.E was the subject I fell in love with as a student, as it was about life; food, sociology, psychology and physiology. Many countries around the world have retained Home Economics as a subject area. Victoria, Australia have also retained the HE title. However, in the early 1990's NSW changed the title of this KLA (key learning area) into a few different subject areas: Food Technology, Design and Technology, Textiles Technology and Textiles and Design.  They all fall under the KLA of Technological and applied studies (TAS). Hospitality sits under the VET (vocational education training) courses amongst Automotive services, Retail services and Construction.

Interesting read:
Home economics: ACARA Submission/National curriculumn2009.pdf

At the school I am currently teaching in, we offer Mandatory TAS in Year 7 and 8 and Food Technology and Hospitality in Years 11 and 12. As we only have one kitchen, we cannot offer classes in Years 9-10 (much to the disappointment of many boys). I enjoy integrating technology into the classroom as it not only engages students but can assist in their processing and understanding of the course outcomes. Allowing the students to engage in authentic learning experiences and reach out to others beyond the classroom is a most powerful learning opportunity.

Since August 2012, we have run a Masterchef Challenge for the Year 7 students using either Chicken or egg as their main ingredient. Students only had an hour to prepare, cook, present their finished dish and clean up. Below are some photos we posted on our Instagram account.  The year 7 students were able to design their own dish, order food and create individual dishes. They were so proud of their creations!

Since August 2012, we have also:

  • recorded vodcasts using their Android Acer iconia 500a tablets (1:1 across Years 7 and 9 in 2012 and in 2013 across 7-11 with a whizz bang Acer iconia 700 tablet) using the movie studio app.
  • continued enjoying QR (quick response codes) for SP (study prep)
  • built our networks around the world with our instagram challenge (see here)
  • won a competition via ink361 for our layering photo below using iphones.

  • trialled food safety online games for Home Ec connect teachers network
  • Experimented with food photography
  • After the formal assessment was recorded and feedback given for the #masterchef challenge, I gave the students another project. 
This time, the project was not a formal ATB (across the board assessment). Students were told this assessment would not be marked in the traditional way. No marks would be given. Only teacher, student and global feedback. This project would not appear on their reports.

I had introduced the PIP (personal interest project) the year before to the 2011 cohort. Students were given TTT (think tank time). Triple T time. Similar to the google 80/20 idea.  I gave the students 20% of their class time to create something they were interested in. This was most successful, so I decided to share this idea. I explained the PIP concept to the 2012 semester 2 group. They were sold!  Only 4 groups across 3 classes didn't manage to submit. (8/60 students).  Remember, this was optional.

In a nutshell, this was the PIP proposal:
  1. PIP stands for Personal Interest Project. The students could choose anything to research, plan and create, as long as it was aligned to the TAS syllabus.
  2. Ideas were tossed around in class and students sampled researching some projects before deciding on a theme and presentation model.
  3. Students submitted a goal, question or challenge. These included building a kitchen design out of lego and filming the process, creating an international food market place in Minecraft, food photography, mastering a tricky dessert, Planning and making a 3 course meal for both families and obtaining feedback, writing a report on our school @foodatoakhill instagram account and preparing a meal given a theme to work around.
  4. Students were given 2 classes to work together in groups of two. Some students, asked to work across different classes as their best mate was in another of my classes. I was cool with that.
  5. Any extra time needed to complete the task was to found my the group members.
  6. Present your PIP to the class (via You tube, powerpoint, podcast, vodcast, oral presentation or poster)
The buzz amongst students was something to marvel at. As a teacher, I love seeing this natural drive to learn and showcase what one has learnt. Affirmations were aplenty and talents were admired. It was a positive way to end the semester. The beauty? Student choice and student voice

In our next post, student PIPs will be showcased. Students are aware and proud to present their PIPS (Personal interest projects) via this class blog. Here is one of the very first PIPs to be presented by Cameron L and Dylan B. They designed a restaurant using minecraft. 

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy what life has to offer. Keep learning, sharing and reaching out to others in order to build a sense of community amongst wider global educators and learners; young and more experienced :)


  1. Thanks for the up-date Jeannette- makes interesting reading and good to remember our Home Ec roots. I particularly like your PIP idea and the focus on student directed authentic learning. We are always looking for ways to engage and enthuse our TAS students and I think a PIP project is right on the money. We are loving the instagram challenge as well!

  2. It has been wonderful to connect with you online Jo! I am glad you enjoyed the post and the PIP idea-always good to plant the seed :))
    How tremendous is our #foodtech instagram community! Loving it too! Thanks for stopping by!