How Will I Make the World a Better Place? #YourEduStory

Being the Best You Can Be


For the past couple of weeks of the holidays I have been enjoying this stunning Gloriosa Lily, as it sits on my veranda . It was one of my Mum’s pot plants that I have had since she passed away 3 years ago. In the past it has had one or two blooms but this year it has eleven beautiful flowers. Due to a little TLC this is the best it has ever been. I love to post photos of my garden so this is a good excuse to use this plant as an analogy for how, as a teacher, I hope to make the world a better place.

Just like the lily all I want for the students that I teach is that they become the best that they can be. Everyday teachers start with a curriculum planned to help their students move onto the next step of the academic ladder, but it doesn’t take long before the social and emotional issues of home or the playground have moved to the forefront of the agenda. We have to balance all the areas that our students and their families are concerned with, working together to build a pathway so that students make good choices based on knowledge, social justice and an intrinsic desire to do the right thing.

The Right Environment

The Gloriosa Lily needs lots of sunshine, good soil and not too much water. Of course students need the right environment too and I believe the most important part of the school environment is the relationship between the student, family and teacher. Without enough sunshine the lily won’t flower and without a strong trusting relationship and mutual respect the student won’t “blossom”.

Plenty of Encouragement

Fertilising the plant while it is growing and flowering ensures that there will be plenty of blooms in the following year. Students need that encouragement while they are working, playing and experiencing life to know when they are on the right track. I hope that I help them to understand that their efforts, failures, social interactions are part of the process that will make them a stronger, wiser and more capable person in the long run.

The Right Support

Different plants need different conditions for optimal growth. Just as the Gloriosa needs a special frame to wrap it’s tendrils around so that it is upright, students often need a personalised plan for optimal development. This year I’m hoping that formal study in the area of Inclusive Learning will help me become better at planning for student’s individual needs and better at providing specialised support for them and their families.

And so that is how I’m hoping to make the world a better place; by being a teacher who helps students, through mutual respect, encouragement, support and personalised learning to become the best person they can possibly be .

Read More

Yikes – A Blog Post Each Week #YourEduStory

This year promises to be full of Challenges – New Job – New Study and almost a completely new role so this is the perfect time to “restart” my blog. When I started my blog my challenge was to overcome a “fear” of writing – writing was something I’d never felt confident about and struggled with all through my school years. Blogging was a good way to work through some of those issues mainly because it was short and to the point and easily edited at a later date.

When I was studying in 2008 I found that blogging was quite helpful for clarifying thoughts and writing about new discoveries. At that time I was studying a Masters in Education Information Technology and there were so many things to learn. Blogging was a great way to make sense of it all. Over the years my blog has served many purposes; reflective practice, a place to save “how to” information, and a place to celebrate achievements. Sadly it has had less and less updates over the last couple of years.

I intend to use the #YourEduStory as motivation to write about my new journey and in particular my new studies – Master of Education (Special Educational Needs). I am particularly interested in melding my two studies together in my work. I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes!

Thanks to for tweeting about this challenge @SteveBrophy3 @sduncan0101 @ccoffa @medg56 @hbailie @mrkrndvs I look forward to reading and responding to your blogs.

Read More

Slide2Learn 2014 – My Workshop Sessions

This is the abbreviated version of my workshops at the 2014 Slide2Learn conference in Sydney.

The following TV shows were made in an hour, during the workshops called “Using Your Ipad to Make an Online TV Show”, at the Slide2Learn Conference. Participants worked in teams to create the short segments about the conference using Google Docs, and iMovie. Two other participants recorded the host sections using a “make-shift” green screen (hence the green hair) and the Doink Green Screen app. All the sections were compiled in iMovie by uploading and sharing through a Google Drive folder.

S2L-TV-show#1 from Lois Smethurst on Vimeo.

S2L-TV-Show #1
Hosted by Jo and Michael
1. Slide2Learn 2014
2. Tony Vincent’s Teacher’s Pet
3. Making an Online TV Show with Lois Smethurst
4. Google Drive – with Greg Swanson

S2L-TV-show #2 from Lois Smethurst on Vimeo.

S2L-TV-Show #2
Hosted by Charlene and Andrew
1. Teacher’s Pet by Tony Vincent
2. How to Keep Warm at Slide2Learn
3. Making It Your Own – (from Tony Vincent’s Keynote)

Read More

How to Add Video to Your Blog with Vimeo

This is the method I use to put videos from my computer on my blog.

Most videos are too large to add directly to your blog so I use Vimeo to host the video. Vimeo works in the same way that Youtube works.

I have a Plus Account for my personal videos and we have a school Plus Account for Vimeo that students and teachers share. We started with a free account but I recommend subscribing to the “Plus” account if you are going to use it regularly as it much quicker to load and access the embed codes that you will need.

Some of my favourite things about Vimeo include;

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 7.18.01 AMThe ability to choose which frame shows up before the video is played.

That you can create albums of related films and then have a widget to display those videos on your blog. You can see an example here.



Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 7.19.23 AM

That you can choose the “outro” of your video – I always choose the beginning of the video rather than other unrelated video previews.

The huge storage allowance – 5GB per week on the Plus Account


Read More