Rock your Van Gogh with your play-dough.

I realise it has been another age since I posted anything on this blog. So here is an excuse to post something for the heck of it.
I am up in Sydney doing some talks at EduTech for the NGV with our buddies Code Club.

Come by and have a look at our Van Dough coding workshop (yes, come up with a witty name first and figure out the content later) and hear me talk about art, code and hard of hearing Dutch Post-Impressionist painters.




Been a while…what have I been up to?

Yep, been a while since I had a chance to post, quietly working on this little project:

My Presentation at the HTAV 2016 Conference – Resources


📺 UPDATE: Videos posted at end of post 📺

A bit of a one stop shop here for the resources I am using and creating for my workshop today. The links and resources below will be used in the creation of online resources you will be making. I will also update this post with recordings of my sessions.

Part 1: Seesaw

Seesaw is a free and super easy to use app to create and empower your students to have online journals. Comments, recording work, and communication with parents are all a tap away. Perfect for Primary students and classes that may only have a few devices. One of the best features? In one tap it will also automatically create an online blog for you to share.

QR Code for our HTAV Seesaw class:


Part 2: Google Apps for Education and Google Classroom

Here we will look at Google Apps for Education, though I am sure a lot of you are quite familiar with its online creation and collaboration tools, we will focus on using Google Classroom to bring it all together and become your classroom PA!

Part 3: iTunes U

iPad school? – This is your platform. We will see how easy it is to create an online course for your class and students. Curate resources, encourage discussion and more.

Part 4: Blog

The best way to promote…you. Your resources, your teaching…your brand!

Part 5: Resources:

Well, as I work for the National Gallery of Victoria, of course I need my resources to be Art History based. And I like sheep…

Danish-born artist August Friedrich Albrecht Schenck settled in Paris as a young man, to study at the famous École des Beaux-Arts. He spent most of his career in Paris, specialising in painting landscapes and animal subjects, which were often seen as a metaphor for human relationships and society. These included several snowy, winter landscapes depicting sheep struggling for survival.
In Anguish, a brave ewe stands defiantly over the limp body of her lamb. Blood from the lamb’s mouth trickles on to the snow.  The pair is encircled by a mass of menacing black crows. The situation appears hopeless, despite the bravery of the ewe.
Anguish was one of the NGV’s earliest acquisitions. In 1906, the painting was voted among the five most popular in the Melbourne collection. Today it is displayed among other 19th century narrative paintings in the NGV where it continues to inspire visitors. Evidence of its enduring appeal can be found on social media sites including Flickr. August Schenck even has a fan club on Facebook.

Classroom discussion:

  • The composition of Anguish has been carefully considered to create atmosphere, mood and meaning. Discuss, considering how the artist has used elements such as colour and tone, and design principles such as focal point and repetition.
  • How might Anguish be interpreted as a metaphor for human relationships and society? Consider what types of human characters and behaviour the sheep and the crows might symbolise.
  • Why do you think Anguish has strong popular appeal?

L. Benson in T. Gott, L. Benson & contributors, 20th Century Painting and Sculpture in the International Collections of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2003.

Google Classroom Activity:

Instructions for students:
1. Spend four minutes looking at Schenck’s Anguish.
2. Write down what stands out to you.
3. Discuss your observations with a partner.
4. Report to the class the items observed that were not in common with your partner.
5. Explain why they have a special significance – in what ways do they convey a mood or message?

iTunes U Activity:

Instructions for students:
1. Spend four minutes looking at Schenck’s Anguish.
2. If the animals in this image could talk (hey, Disney can do it), what do you think they might be saying? Think about the animals, how they are portrayed in the scene (good guy / bad guy) their motivations and more.
3. Discuss your observations with a partner.
4. Open the App ChatterPix, create several videos that will give a voice to the animals.
5. Save all these videos, and then open iMovie and edit them together into one movie. Add some dramatic music and titles to give emphasises to your short film.
Image: – We will also talk about that whole, Copyright thing here…



iTunes U / iBooks Author:


Google Classroom:


La Trobe University #connected16 Resources

downloadFor the next two days, I will be running some sessions with La Trobe University education students.

This will be the landing page for resources for those peeps as most of what they do is over Twitter (and I shall not be contained by 140 characters dam it!)

First up, your 📖  App list.

Below are a list of apps we will be using over the two days, all are free and you have iOS and Android flavors to choose from.

Great if you could get them all, but at the very least please get SeeSaw.

App links: 



Google for Nonprofits…It’s like Google for Education, with less homework and more Ads (the good kind)

Google_for_Non-ProfitsAs you know, I am a big fan of Google’s suite of productivity apps. Google Docs, Drive and Co. Perfect for collaboration and creation for our students.  And as Google have a few dollars saved up, they offer this service free to schools with their Google for Education platform, something I have worked with many schools to implement.

In my new role, I have moved from the classroom to the nonprofit sector.

Collaboration and creation are still part of what I do everyday, but this can come at a cost, in terms of software and users. The more people I would like to get on board and work on these projects, the more it could end up costing me. And like schools, I will have groups of users (AFL Players, Working Groups, etc) that will come and go at different stages and may only need access to these platforms for a certain time.

This is where Google for Nonprofits has come in. Not only do they offer their Google Apps platform for free, but also offer other services only for nonprofits such as:

  • Ad Grants provides you with 10.000 USD per month in AdWords to raise awareness and target new audiences online through Google advertising.
  • YouTube for Nonprofits offers premium features for organisations to make the most of their YouTube channel.
  • Google Earth Outreach provides rich opportunities for organisations to create interactive content and visualise their impact.

So, how do you get in on this action?, first (and, well, it is in the name) you need to be a nonprofit. Got that ticked? (good on you) now you can signup here:

In Australia when you go though this process (which is pretty easy, just a few check boxes and paperwork) you will also get access to Connecting, a organisation that provides nonprofits with free and discounted software from a range of providers such as Microsoft and Adobe (which can save you even more dollars and help out other members of your organisation)

So far this has worked out great for us. I wouldn’t say without it I would have changed my plans, but more in knowing that I can work on new programs, big or small, without the constraints of thinking about optional upfront costs. For example, where in the past we may have limited our interaction with a subgroup to just using their personal email for communication, I can now set up my users as officially with a Google account in our domain, offer them all the security and safety that that brings and expose them to new tools and ways of working.

If you are a nonprofit, get on it, you have nothing to loose.

Year 9 History Teacher?…relax, your planning for next year is done

Kinda’ an excuse to post something (which with my current project has been hard to do), and kinda’ trying to spread the word to History, and all, teachers out there, but as the school year comes to a close teachers are gearing into planning for next year mode.

One resource that is gaining a lot great Australian based resources everyday, and often overlooked by teachers, is iTunes U. There is now a huge wealth of content on there by local teachers just like you. Personally, I think this content is far more genuine, engaging and current than anything you would pay for, so why not take advantage of it.

Right now you can check out the Apple curated, Australian Curriculum page (insert small plug here for my Year 9 World War 1 content…) with complete units and lessons for a range of classes. While you’re there, explore more. The great thing about iTunes U is all content is part of the Creative Commons license.

Want to pick and choose? Well, setup your own iTunes Course, pick and choose from a wealth of content from iTunes U and start adding in your own….baby steps hey.


RESOURCES: HTAV – Australian Curriculum World War 1 Course iBook Author Working Files (and more)

pictureFor those of you that attended my workshop yesterday, I promised a lovely little gift. All the working files from two of my popular History courses. My Year 9 Australian Curriculum course for World War 1 (currently highlighted in the iTunes Store’s Australian Curriculum section) and also my Japanese Art History Project (currently highlighted in the DEECD channel)

All these books show slightly different use-cases for iBooks Author and Multi-Touch books (The World War 1 course has a collection of books for different topics, all with different purposes, the Japanese Art History books is a very detailed and visual example)

As I said in my talk, I think the best way to learn something new is to pull apart something old that works (which is why I was always getting in trouble for working our old 486 Computer when I was 13…sorry mum) so feel free to pull my work apart.

To access the resources click here*

*The page is password protected, so for those interested please just send me an email at or tweet me at @dgarciatweets

RESOURCES: HTAV – Teach the Past with Tools of the Future Workshop – Flemington Racecourse 29 September 2015

workshopI will be running a workshop tomorrow (or today depending on when you get to this page!) at the History Teachers’ Association of Australia (HTAA) National Conference.

This post is for the attendees to my workshop and will contain links to all the resources I have created for the day. First of which will be my Keynote deck for my opening talk (as I intend to blaze though this pretty fast so we can have more time doing the fun part…making stuff)

I will also be recording the keynote and workshop sessions so you can come back to these later (you know, in case you missed one of my witty jokes) or to share with others that were unable to attend. I will update my blog when these are available after the event.

Downloads / Links / Video (Updated)

iBooks Author (from the Mac App store – Free)

Keynote Deck (as a PDF without fancy animations I’m afraid…)


Though I recorded today’s session, I thought it best to show you something similar, but new – Here is a video of a session I run with a small group of teachers, no time limit on me on this one!

Start at the 18 minute mark to skip my keynote but see some hands on examples of iBooks and iTunes U and also a more in-depth creation session. Enjoy.

There’s Money in Teaching Yet, well, at least $27.56 – How Google AdSense can work for Teachers

In a previous post I showed you how you could make some extra cash for your school using Apple’s Affiliate Program, well, now I will share with you how to make some cash for yourself! (or school if you are so way inclined).

I have been posting videos on YouTube now for years, most of it educational content I created for my classes or students. These videos have produced many, many thousands of views over the years, and recently I thought, “what if I tried some of Google’s advertising options?”

When you setup a YouTube account you have the option to monetise your videos. This, I think, is an area you want to be a little careful with, for me, this is educational content I am putting up so my main goal here is to help students, not hit them with ads. Thankfully Google give you a range of options to how you monetise your videos.  Check out the image below:

Ways to monetise your videos.

As you can see from the three options, they really are a range of how intrusive the ads will be, option one and two, I feel, add a bit of extra work for viewers of your video, no one wants to sit through an ad (especially students that are watching this to learn something) so these two options are providing a small barrier to that content. These two I avoid, I use the last option which puts an ad on the side panel of the webpage, not interfering with your message (and to be honest, far enough out-of-the-way to be forgettable).

Of course, one thing to bear in mind is that each of these options of ad placement also affect the payments you receive, longer, non-skippable ads will earn you quite a lot more cash, but again, I was really just experiencing with how this works and not in it for the money…clearly, when you see my results.

So, I had a look art some of the hundreds of videos I have made, the most popular? How to use Google Maps to find contour lines on any map. 

It then became the first result when doing a google search on the topic!

This video, was one of those perfect teacher moments. I was teaching a Geography class and we were looking at maps, specifically, contour maps. During the class I had a question from a student; “How do I use Google Maps to find corner lines?” at the time there was no easy way shown on how to do this, so, I just did a super quick screen recording on how you find them – Student Happy, Class Happy. Then I thought, well, if my students wanted to find this info out and couldn’t, others might, so in one click I uploaded it to YouTube and quietly forgot about it – It then became the first result when doing a google search on the topic!

Then, it was just set and forget.

With over 40,000 views I thought this would be a perfect test video. So, I went through the process of setting up monetisation (just sign up to Google AdSense), and turned it on.

Then, it was just set and forget. I am not exactly sure how the whole ads = cash work, but it basically comes down to views. The more views the video has, the more ad impressions it can serve, the more cash you will make.

 I am earning a massive 10c a day!

Again, I am not going to retire off this, but this is how it worked out over the next few months:

What is going on with that spike there?

As you can see, I am earning a massive 10c a day!, if this keeps up I could retire, by the year…. 2899.

What is that spike in the middle there, when I earn an unprecedented $1.53? let’s have a look:

Thanks Norway, today I can buy a coffee…maybe I will pay in krone?

Yep, Norway. Why the surge? Who knows, maybe it was a national exam on geography the next day?, Norway teachers are running a class on contour maps?, either way, I was rolling in the kroner

I was rolling in the kroner

So that was my little experiment, what did I learn from this?

As I said, I have hundreds of videos on my channel, most of these are lessons for my students, student work, and other things like that, but from those I am lucky to get a few cents. In fact, this contour map video made up half of my complete earnings from all my videos in the time frame.

it answered a simple question that many people around the world were asking

Why?, well the answer is simple. All my videos are for my students, the world as a collective whole isn’t searching for them, but this 1 minute video – it answered a simple question that many people around the world were asking, it was what they were searching for, why it is on the top of the google search listings, and why it is watched.

My advice for teachers? What is the constant question you are getting in your classes, the one that all students seem to ask every class, lesson or year? – The one you answer and explain simply so they get it? – Well, film it, put in on YouTube and see if the world is asking the same questions?

You too could be retiring with me…in 2899

I will be presenting at the HTAA National History Conference – 29 September 2015

NapkinYes, blatant self promotion.

I have been asked to present at the HTAA National History Conference this September (29 to be exact) at Flemington Racecourse. I will be giving a workshop: Teach the Past with Tools of the Future – a hands on session that will allow participants to see how powerful, and easy, it is for teachers to create original, engaging and interactive content for their students. My focus being creating Multitouch Books and using online platforms like iTunes U, and empowering the participants to leave having done (or at least started) the same.

If you’re a History teacher, come along. Should be a great day.

You can find out more details on the event soon here.

Click here for the advanced Conference Program