Fun ideas testing new stuff

Pokemon Go @ School

If you work in a school, you are going to have to deal with the fact that students (and teachers) are going to play this during class time. I know some of you’ve built great digital citizenship at your schools and have guidelines in place like: games allowed during break only etc… but this is going to push all the boundaries you have in place.

Get behind it or on top of it, you can not ignore it.


It’s only just been released, it hits the sweet point of everyone under 25 and the gamers/geeks above that. It’s family friendly and firmly rooted in our pop culture. This will be somewhat of a storm in a teacup when you return to school after these holidays, it will eventually die back down in popularity but there will remain a large portion of users that are dedicated. So take the initiative and set the expectations your school or classroom has about Pokemon Go. I hope you get behind it because there are some great opportunities for learning and some very cool things you could do.

Below we’ll look at what you need to be aware of and share some ideas of what you can take advantage of too. You can check their support page for most FAQs about the app and if you still have a question just ask it in our comments section.


Start now

Simply put, decide which side of the fence you sit on and get into it, either Gotta catch ’em all or No pokemon for you. Once you’ve made that decision you need to decide how you’re going to respond, then you’re going to need to send some emails.

Gotta Catch ’Em All

  • Post to Facebook the pokemon seen at your school
  • Introduce the gym or pokespot and the significance of the artwork/landmark
    • Let them know the school will be running events around Pokemon Go
  • Run weekly competitions
    • Biggest catch
    • Most number of specific type of Pokemon
    • Most number of Eggs hatched in a week
  • Check the Learning Opportunities section below and share some ideas with relevant staff

No Pokemon For You

  • Send your staff an email reminding them about your schools policy for games and the use of devices on school grounds
    • If you don’t have a policy for that, consider this an appropriate time to make one
  • Alert them to Pokemon Go and the expected usage at school and ask them to be vigilant in maintaining the school policy
  • If you have a welcome back assembly or morning news, put a piece in about Pokemon Go
    • “I’ve had a much more active term break thanks to Pokemon Go, but I would take this opportunity to ask you all to leave our wild pokemon in peace during school hours and I invite you to battle at the [insert local gym location] gym after school.”



There will be injuries to people and damage to devices, the game is played in an app via interacting with real physical locations. Make sure your schools policy about damage to personal devices is up to date/exists and be mindful that there are going to be a few injuries from people not being mindful.

Ensure any physical dangers are clearly signed and take the time to inspect the area before students return. Just imagine what damage a blindfolded person would do to themselves in that area, an impromptu rope fence could save a bunch of drama.



PokestopYour school will either have a “Pokestop” on it, or very very close to it, so about 25m around it will become a congregation point.

Pokestops are real artworks or landmarks, in the app you can interact with them to randomly generate items you need to catch pokemon. There is a cool down period of 5 minutes after each interaction. You can also install lure modules into the pokestop that increase the number of pokemon in the immediate area.

There is a lot about community and communication in this game, it is mostly a single player affair even with the Gym component it doesn’t really require a great deal of team work. It does encourage a “look at what I’ve got” sort of thing though and mostly (thanks to the Pokemon series) this is taken as “Well done!” sort of approach, Ash and Pikachu would be disappointed in unfriendly behaviour. Also nobody wants to be thought of as being bad to their pokemon, even Team Rocket (the antagonists) are the most naive of evil characters.

This means that these points of congregation are going to be lively but in general very positive.

Gotta Catch ’Em All

  • Put out signage advertising known pokemon that can be caught
    • Provide seating or umbrellas/shelter
  • Add Lure modules at specific break times you advertise to students

No Pokemon For You

  • Station a duty roster to the position
  • Signage reminding of the school policy and consequences



GymIf your school has a Gym (in Pokemon Go) on or near it then things are a little different,  it will be a congregation point.

Gyms are real artworks or landmarks, in the app you can interact with them to battle other teams. There are three teams Yellow Blue & Red, any current resident team colours will be added to the Gym image.

Though still mostly positive and also the only teamwork reliant aspect of Pokemon Go, Gym battles are inherently team versus team. There will be some banter and interaction between rival teams but like everything in Pokemon, most people aren’t going to be huge jerks about it.

Gyms are owned by a team until all the stationed pokemon are defeated and another team takes up residence, rinse wash repeat.

Gotta Catch ’Em All

  • Arrange a battle royal
    • Prize is announcing the winner in the newsletter/website
  • Recognition of the top pokemon trainer at the gym at specific time of the week

No Pokemon For You

  • Same as for the Pokespot
  • Monitor for Gym ownership change
    • this would be a bit hypocritical though



Be aware Pokemon Go is GPS based and you must be in proximity to the landmark to interact with it. If you have one onsite, the general public will loiter around it at some point, especially if a Lure module is used.


Learning Opportunities


The combination of Combat Power (CP) and Hit Points (HP) that are increased through power ups and evolution currently hasn’t had it’s algorithm released. Nobody really knows but there are some likely variables (like the level of the player themselves).

  • As a class, work out the highest CP and HP of a Pidgey
  • Provide a graph of the increase of CP and HP
    • Starting level Pidgey of 10 CP
    • Ensure the player level is no higher than 10
  • Estimate an equation that is likely to produce this outcome


    • Split into 3 groups
    • Triplicate the above exercise
      • Are the results consistent
      • What are the possible variables causing differences
    • Test estimated equation against similar and different pokemon

This can go on and on and we haven’t even reached “What effect does Evolution have on CP & HP?”, “Is there a consistent algorithm for all pokemon or just for types or not at all?” and “What is the cheapest way to max out an evolved Pokemon using stardust?”

Plus almost every pokemon has a different weight and height from each other that may or may not be related to the initial CP the pokemon had when captured, can it proven there is a pattern and can it be reverse engineered to show what initial Pidgey capture a Pidgeotto with CP 199, HP 44, Weight 1.29kg, Height 0.93m?



There is so much you could look into and do with this that you could throw a pokeball and you’ll hit on something great. For those of you that have a rigid teaching plan in place, you could incorporate this by  getting students to submit there top 5 pokemon and their stats into a spreadsheet and then use that spreadsheet data instead of your carefully prepared donald duck and mickey mouse data.


Have a look at the Pokedex in the app – the descriptions are great and there are some very nice and simple explanations. Not to mention you can actually make them evolve which leads to some great conversations about what features remained and in what ways they improved, remember they live to battle other pokemon (battles end in a KO, not death). Also remember that pokemon are more often found where they would naturally occur, such Magicarp mostly being found near water.

  • Find 3 animals with a similar adaptation as a Nidoran pokemon
  • List 3 ways Spearow changes when it evolves into Fearow and describe likely factors that make this a positive adaptation (exclude battling as factor)


Also remember that pokemon are more often found where they would naturally occur, such Magicarp mostly being found near water, so there a few environment things you can tie into.

Tell us

There are so many ways to make Pokemon Go a really positive engagement at your school and we really look forward to hearing ideas and experiences of what the pioneering teachers out there come up with. Please let us know and share any of your ideas in the comments.

Fun how to ICT ideas

Website Image Size is important

It’s like the old spy technology cliché Smaller is Better.

The smaller the file size the faster the load time. Thats pretty much the crux of it, and for schools you’re going to find that your demographics’ internet access speeds vary wildly. So small file sizes for images is pretty important.

At this point I could show you a bunch of speed tests and bench marks but you already understand the idea so instead I’m going to help you do something about it.

Image formats

From here there is a whole conversation about the right type of image format to use in each application depending on image composition. Other people have done it better than me and you probably only use JPG and PNG files. I’m guessing you probably only started using PNG files because of a non-white background somewhere. GIF and SVG have their places too but really lets just focus on the first two because there is weird caveats and complexity that you’r/I’m not interested in today.

Just use PNG

#badlydefinedconcepts OK that is a super generalisation but if you’re reading this then honestly save yourself the drama and get used to working with PNG files.

Compression FTW

Thats how we squish them down to make them smaller. There are a bunch of different types of compression and you probably don’t care about them because you’d need to know the composition of each image and the amount of horizontal or vertical repetition and … complex blah.

The point of this post then?


This is the answer, it’s been in my bookmarks for so long that my link points to its original .org url. Now save it to your Bookmarks Bar, Favourites or Top Sites because you’re going to use this site alot. This is the finishing tool that makes all the difference. Forget about the rest of it this site is MAGIC.

Magic tricks

All images uploaded to TinyPNG where fullscreen screenshots @ 2880 × 1800 px.

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 7.04.42 PM

[av_one_fifth first]





It makes a difference to your users, you might be surprised how heavy websites are now and paying attention to the details is important.


Get Connected and Stay Connected

George Siemens, one of my favourite writers and speakers, tweeted a fantastic article the other day from Scientific American, on “How Networks Are Revolutionizing Scientific (and Maybe Human) Thought”. It discusses the nature of networks and how this adds meaning to existence. Of particular interest to me was the spread of ideas via social networks and the importance of having ties beyond our immediate network of friends, relatives and colleagues.

I have always promoted that we should develop our networks and the tools of today only make this easier. Twitter (where I am very lucky to read many of George’s tweets), among other social networking sites, all help to connect and ensure as a teacher, I can share and develop my ideas and maintain perspective in my very busy job. It’s so important to get connected with like minded individuals and stay connected with them. for example, it is one thing to join twitter, but we need to be brave to share ideas and mention others in tweets!

For me, these networks are important as I live in Perth, one of the most isolated cities on Earth, and the ability to get to conferences is costly. So by following certain people and reading widely, I am able to stay in touch with what is happening elsewhere. My own academic research is supplemented by reading of writings of those around the world to give greater meaning and ensure it remains in touch with what is happening in the everyday classroom.

So if you are not connected, try and get involved with those outside your regular networks. And if you are already connected, make sure you remain active!

ICT ideas Keynote

TeachMeet – Digital Citizenship Presentation

Last week I presented at a TeachMeet #TMWA_DL in Perth, I’m always anxious when presenting to teachers. I’m not scared of teachers, it’s more like awe; I respect what they do and see the hours they put in, how much of themselves they give and this makes me want to do a very good job when I am talking to them. So I end up being anxious, also I’m a bit rusty with my presentation skills. Inevitably I didn’t get across the true nuance of what I wanted during the presentation. So in an more-than-likely misguided attempt, I will try to do so here and with any luck it might be worth sharing.

Also thanks @GabrielleTrinca for the opportunity to present.


Digital Citizenship Presentation

I’ve worked in Education for over 10 years, in a number of schools, and my most recent role was as an ILT Manager for a K-12 school. So I wanted to share with you a different perspective on Digital Citizenship in schools as my experience with Digital Citizenship is a bit interesting. I’ve written policies and organised PLDs yet the interesting part is I was only really involved in Digital Citizenship when shit hit the fan. When the principal, deputy or a parent called me directly.

  • “My 12 year old daughter has naked photos online”
  • “My 14 year old sons junk is on Facebook”
  • “SnapChat something something Tinder something something”

Mostly the calls were looking for “what do I do now” and I’ll write something about that later because responding to these type of situations really does deserve its own post. But that small sample is not indicative of the worst kind of calls I’ve had.

Why is it not surprising?

The really scary part here is you’re not surprised that those previous examples are the kinds of things that happen.

Your not surprised, but you should be.
You should be shocked, but you’re not are you?

If we take the first idea and leverage it into a bad “In Real Life” (IRL) example it would be something like this:

A 12 year old girl takes an inappropriate and compromising polaroid photo of herself. She then shares that photo with her friend, who then photo copies it and begins handing it around school.

Now thats not just surprising, its ridiculous and if it did happen “shocked” would feel like an understatement right?

So why is it shocking IRL but Online you’re not even surprised this would happen?

Before we consider this any further I need to define a term.

Online Reality

This is the term I use to describe the realm that your Digital World exists in. It is intangible but very real, it is where your social media interactions occur and it is where you leave your Digital Footprints. It does not have any feeling or sentience it just is, which makes it harder. It means it doesn’t care about you in any way, your age, gender, sexuality, religion or politics; it just exists.

Maybe at your birth your Parents took a photo and introduced you to the world through Facebook.  BAM welcome to your Online Reality you now have a Digital Footprint. Everyone lives here, also I should point out that the normal rules IRL don’t really apply here. The boundaries and restrictions are different or missing all together.

So it is no wonder we aren’t surprised by the initial examples, we subconsciously understand that our Online Reality is basically blank and the rules and boundaries are a bit sort-of-not-really-there.

Post Revolution Chaos

We have been through The Digital Revolution and we are now living on the other side, the ensuing chaos. Massive change happened and it happened too quickly for us.

The Digital Revolution was the convergence of hardware technology, the maturity of web services, economic growth and decline and bunch of different societal changes in a short period of time culminating in paradigm shift for our society. #badlyexplainedconcepts

Back to schools context – So for us in Australia at the same time as we are coming to terms with a Digital Revolution we see a massive influx of devices into schools. In fact the NSSCF wanted to help us get to a 1:1 ratio of computers to students in schools. Which from where we were was a massive undertaking, they came pretty close too, it’s yet to be seen if schools can maintain a 1:1 ratio (or near that). We were originally on a very slow path of technology adoption, one where we knew that “one day” computers would be a part of the classroom.


As Individuals we were unprepared for the immense changes that Online Reality had on us, not to mention how we tried to deal with this as Families.

It goes with out saying that Schools were super unprepared

We didn’t have wifi and internet bandwidth or sometimes the basic infrastructure to support a school network. Let alone providing training and development for teachers to integrate technology into their curriculum or how to use Digital Citizenship in our lessons and tasks.

This is still the case for a lot of schools

It shouldn’t be anymore

We have tools and resources available for Digital Citizenship that are brilliant; Check out Ribbles’ stuff You probably should have seen it by now, if not then you’re in for a treat. Mike Ribble presents Digital Citizenship in clear and concise way, I implore you to explore the nine elements and review the 3 repetitions to see where you fit and what you can do to support and foster Digital Citizenship.

The 3 repetitions should be used to help your school understand the role it plays and its responsibility for its own Digital Citizenship. It’s a straight forward example of a framework for implementation of positive Digital Citizenship.

Why are we so bad at it?

Firstly my premise here is that most schools have terrible Digital Citizenship. This is due to a number of factors from blissful ignorance to bad implementations. I would sumize that the biggest reason for poor Digital Citizenship is:

We use traditional approaches and try to apply them to our Online Reality.teachmeet.008

It will fail, so why are you surprised? inherently you know that our Online Reality doesn’t have the same rules as IRL. Thats why we’re not surprised that the initial examples are things that happen. Yet we continue to try and use traditional approaches towards student behaviour and curriculum development in our Online Reality.

At best forcing a traditional approach into an Online Reality will have little to no impact. At worst the impact is massively negative to the point the student disconnects with the schools or teachers’ Online Reality. This creates a scenario where a students Online reality is orphaned from IRL and that means if things go bad there is no-one to connect to; and I might end up getting one of those phone calls, in the worst scenarios I don’t get that call.

There are places where it works though, why?

This is kind of the paradox here, a few schools do have positive Digital Citizenship. The active kind, not the “we don’t ask and they don’t tell” kind. The really interesting thing is you can’t take their lessons or what they’re doing and use it in a school with bad Digital Citizenship because it will fail. Mostly because it’s already the same thing, that is to say the two schools approaches are traditional, it just that in one of them it works.

In my observations of schools with good Digital Citizenship, it is a combination of being mindful of Digital Citizenship and being open to connection. It is less about how we teach Digital Citizenship and more about how your students connect.

Culture is the keyteachmeet.009

It is the Culture of the school that defines Digital Citizenship success, specifically the culture of the student body. Schools with positive Digital Citizenship have students that interact with their school differently.

Just talk to connect with me

So what is different about these schools:

  • They have open paths to dialog
  • There is no fear of sharing
  • Low risk of disconnect


Disconnect is scary, it’s not hard to imagine what kind of impact that can have and is part of the reason I created Concern. It’s a platform for students to self and peer report to a trusted adult in an online environment. It creates an initial path to dialog for students and though it is faceless (pun intended) it has what students care about, with integrity it provides safety without judgement.

Strong relationships need open communication

This first step removes the scariness and immediacy of connection. It begins a conversation that spreads from Student-Student to Student-Teacher, Student-Parent, Parent-Teacher and so on. This changes the dynamic of interactions at a whole school level, in the simplest terms it effects cultural change.

As individuals we need to be mindful of our Online Reality
As Teachers we need to be aware of our students Online Reality

Summative points

  • Positive Digital Citizenship can only be achieved through open communication
  • Connect with each other and create open paths to dialog.
  • Don’t need to reinvent the wheel, use the great tools and resources already available.
  • Be an Advocate of Digital Citizenship
  • Be mindful of your Online Reality
  • Act the culture your school needs.
  • You are the person that can make a difference.

Concern – Announcing the launch of our long awaited Digital Citizenship tool

For a number of years Eyks has been taking registrations of interest for Concern, it’s taken a long time to sort out all the legal and privacy requirements and even though we hoped to announce this sooner:

Eyks is launching

Today is Australia’s 2016 National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence an auspicious day to to announce we are finally finished preparing Concern.

Concern is designed for students to let someone know something is wrong. It creates a path to dialogue that is open and safe, a simple way to let the right person know.

For some schools Concern will slot into place as the missing piece of a puzzle and for others it will be the starting point you have been looking for to take action on your schools Digital Citizenship.

We know Concern can make a difference and we are delighted to finally announce is now available!