Anywhere, anytime communications with School App

Queensland-based Digistorm Education has developed a school-specific app for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. 

The company broke new ground when it released Australia’s first native iPhone App for a K-12 school in 2010, for King’s Christian College. Close to 50 schools across Australia and New Zealand have since adopted the School App including: Scots College in Wellington, St Paul’s School and Somerville House in Brisbane and Radford College in the ACT. 

Parents, teachers and students at these schools can now access notices, event information, newsletters and urgent alerts anywhere, anytime. The School App also provides schools with the capability to send targeted push notifications instantly to users, at no cost. This was used to great effect by schools in Queensland to keep parents updated during the recent flooding.

Digistorm Director Tim Oswald says that, although the primary purpose of a having a school app is to communicate efficiently with parents and the school community, there are significant cost savings to be had too. For example, by switching to a digital newsletter, a school with 1000 students can save up to $6000 annually that would otherwise have to be spent on a printing a fortnightly six-page newsletter.

The Digistorm School App comes in three packages. The entry level White Package provides schools with an easy to use communications platform for notices, and an events calendar. 

The Orange Package adds a newsletter and contact directory, while the comprehensive Blue Package includes a virtual school map, as well as photo and video galleries. Each app is customised to the school’s needs and can be upgraded and expanded. 

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Corrimal High School Librarian writes her own book

After many years reading other people’s books, Corrimal High School’s Librarian, Susan Cutsforth has written a memoir that is so engaging it was published just before Christmas 2012.

Words have always been important to Susan, so when she and her husband Stuart made a daring decision to buy their own tumble-down farmhouse in South West France three years ago, she began recording each step of the renovation adventure.

After Susan had sent a 10-page email to friends back home describing her photos of their little house in France, it came to her that perhaps she had the beginnings of something that others would find interesting and enjoyable to read.

She worked on her memoir early in the morning and when she got home from a day teaching at Corrimal High. She said that she used notes that she had taken while they were working on the house; whenever she could snatch a minute from scooping gravel or peeling wall paper, she would record her thoughts. They worked so constantly that this was often at lunch or over a quick cup of tea.

Susan and Stuart have a love of both renovating and finding second-hand treasure to furnish and decorate houses. Even so, in France they were challenged by the language, shopping hours and initial lack of contacts in the village. All they had in the kitchen to begin with was a sink and a wood- burning stove.

She says that their hard work on the house won their neighbours over and now they have made great friends in the village. Jean-Claude, a neighbour and retired English teacher, who Susan says is the star of the book, has acted as a mentor, guide and friend and keeps an eye on their little old farmhouse when they are home again in Australia.

Susan says that the students at Corrimal High have encouraged her and have been delighted by her success. The memoir My House is Not in Paris was released as an ebook on 23rd December. It is significant for her school and students that it is the first ebook that Melbourne Books has published. As an award-winning teacher librarian, this is another significant achievement – to be at the forefront of reading and technology. Susan Cutsforth believes that her experience shows others that “ordinary people can achieve their dreams.” 

Sir Ken Robinson to headline K-12 education tech event 

Sir Ken Robinson will return as presenter at EduTech 2103. This year’s event will include the exhibition, three conferences and five masterclasses. Over 3000 delegates are expected to attend the three-day event on 3rd–5th June at Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, where 150 businesses and educational organisations will be exhibiting.

EduTECH will host three concurrent conferences: K-12 Education Leaders Congress; K-12 IT Directors and Managers Congress; K-12 Business Managers and Administrators Congress.

Keynote speakers

Sir Ken Robinson Internationally recognised leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation (via live satellite link)

Dan Pink author of Drive and Whole New Mind, leading thinker on motivation, innovation and leadership

Sal Khan founder of Khan Academy (via live satellite link)

Stephen Heppell online education expert

Alan November international leader in educational technology

Ewan McIntosh Founder and CEO of NoTosh

Karen Cator Director – Office of Educational Technology, US Government

Dr Gary Stager Executive Director – The Constructivist Consortium

Scott Koslosky futurist

The conferences have been designed for principals and their education leadership teams to come together to delve into the big visions for technology in schools.

For information and to register online visit:

Musica Viva invites teachers to test-pilot new digital learning resources

Not-for-profit music education company Musica Viva In Schools (MVIS) is set to roll-out new digital learning resources in May and is calling on teachers interested in test-piloting the program.

Developed by music education professionals, the new resources aim to make it easier for teachers to include music in their lessons. Each module has been aligned with both federal and state curricula, with a focus on making learning fun, interactive and accessible.

To make sure the resources deliver the best quality music program possible, MVIS is inviting teachers to give feedback on the modules.

Compatible with all computers and projectors, the digital modules range from Foundation to Year 8 and contain cross-curriculum links, assessment strategies and multi-media resources to support both music specialists and those looking to introduce their students to music for the first time.

Each 45-minute module can be used as a stand-alone teaching resource throughout the year or in tandem with a visit by a MVIS touring ensemble performance. 

“These resources use state-of-the-art technology to give all students access to music, no matter where they live, what school they attend or how established their music program is,’’ says CEO Mary Jo Capps.

“What is crucial is making sure these resources are as good as they can be for teachers to use, which is why we are inviting teachers to try them and tell us what they think.’’

Teachers can have the resources sent to them or visit any MVIS state office and test the modules with a music education professional.

MVIS has been at the forefront of delivering and developing quality music education programs for more than 30 years. The impending release of the National Curriculum for Music prompted MVIS to spend the past three years developing a practical response to the need for an easy, curriculum-based music teaching resource that could be used by any teacher.

“This new development makes teaching music easy for teachers. There are no events to arrange, audio to search for, or instruments to source,” Ms Capps said.

“It’s everything teachers need to plan and implement fun and interactive music lessons, in the palm of your hand.”

Applications to trail the resource close on 29th March.