Using technology to solve problems

Using touch screens with the orangutans

At the Atlanta Zoo touchscreens, laptops and a knowledge tree are being used to provide enrichment activities for the Gorillas and Orangutans as well as to conduct research into the cognitive abilities of the animals. This research began in 2007.

Click here to try out one of the games the orangutans play in their exhibit.

The Zoo also provides natural enrichment activities for their gorillas including adding piles of leaves to their enclosures.

In early 2016, Melbourne Zoo staff began working with researchers from the University of Melbourne and Microsoft. They developed a system, using modified Xbox Kinect 3D technology and projections on the floor of the orangutan enclosure, to allow the primates to play simple problem-solving games. The orangutans had already been using painting and musical iPad apps with their keepers, through the bars. In the future, the researchers are hoping to design apps that will allow the orangutans to interact with the zoo’s human visitors.

Experiments like these have the potential to be quite controversial. There is an ongoing debate about whether we should be providing zoo animals with access to technology or keeping them in enclosures that are as natural as possible? In the Zoo Atlanta research, the scientists investigated visitor perceptions about the use of technology in enclosures. They concluded that the visitors were highly positive about its value, particularly if they had had the opportunity to observe the orangutans interacting with the touch screen.



New Terminology in Digital Thinking

Computational Thinking is a problem solving approach. The goal is to produce a systematic solution to a problem. The solution will include:

  • a sequence of steps to solve the problem
  • a discussion of the data needed to solve the problem

Digital Technologies (Digitech)

‘Digital Technologies give the power to create technology.’

They include both software and hardware.


What are Digital Technologies?

In the new Victorian Curriculum, we are going to exploring how digital technologies work and the science behind them.

Rather than just using my  beautiful new MacBook Pro. I might start thinking about how the information gets to my MacBook or how MacBooks are actually made.

Previous curriculum focuses have included:

  • Digital Literacies – being able to use technology effectively and safel
  • Information Literacy – a process for acquiring, sharing, presenting and evaluating new knowledge.

Digitech is concerned with:

  • how digital technologies work
  • how they are created
  • the thinking required to create digital technologies.

Computational thinking is the way of thinking needed to solve problems and create solutions with digital technologies.




Adding Video to your Posts

Creating Video


Using Existing Video

  • Youtube
  • Fuse

Uploading Video to the Internet

  • Google Drive
  • Youtube
  • Directly to your blog with your laptop – Create a Video Playlist
  • Directly to your blog with the WordPress App – June 2015 Update

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 12.26.00 pm

Add video pic

Embedding Video


Connecting with other classes – Why Connect?

Connecting with other classes supports the success of your class blog through:

  • increasing student engagement by providing your class with access to a real audience for their writing
  • encouraging different and more global perspectives
  • comments provide your students with authentic feedback about their work

Here are some ideas for connecting with other classes.


The State of Educational blogging in 2014.

Connecting with Other Classes – Our Stories

Our Stories

Our Stories was a joint blogging project between Oatlands and Berwick Lodge.

Each school created a new photoblog blog. All the children participating in the project had their own category. This made it very easy to find all the photos posted by a particular child.

Here are the links to our blogs

Sample Blog Post

Each child was paired up with a child from the other school. They read all of their partners posts and were encouraged to comment on them. They looked at all the photos posted by their partner.

Emma poem Screen Shot


Once they felt they had learnt about their partner they wrote a poem describing them.

Michelle 2


We organised a Skype video call between the two classes.

The children read out their poems to their partners.

The students found this to be a very emotional event.

Connecting with other classes – Projects by Jen

Projects by Jen

Christms Tree hands

At CSPS in December 2013 my year five six class participated in the Christmas Card project.

We made our own Chrismas Cards and posted them to 20 schools around the world (mostly in America)

As we received cards back from those schools we added them to our Christmas Card display including colouring them in on our map and reading about their school.

It was a fantastic project that I would happily encourage other classes to participate in.

About our School

Connecting with other classes – Quadblogging

“QuadBlogging involves connecting your class to a Quad group of four schools/classes.

The idea behind quadblogging is each classroom takes a turn for a week being the focal point of the quad.  During this time the other classes engage with that class blog, participate in any activities the focus class initiates and takes time to learn about that class, their school and region.”

Student Blogging Challenge, Step 10


Connecting with other classes – Student Blogging Challenge

Student Blogging Challenge

“The Student Blogging Challenge runs twice yearly.  A new Challenge starts March and September, each year.

  • It is made up of a series of 10 weekly tasks all designed to improve blogging and commenting skills while connecting students with a global audience.
  • The Challenge is open to both class blogs and to individual student bloggers from all over the world and of all ages”

Student Blogging Challenge, Step 10