ACEC 2014

ImageI am really looking forward to running two workshops at ACEC 2014.

Find more information here http://acec2014.acce.edu.au/

Advertisements

Computing…. Resources to help

This post from Malcolm (an LG advisor like myself)  sets out some amazing points.

Consuming
Published on November 22, 2013 in Coding, Digital Literacy, Games Based Learning, ICT, Mobile Technology, Technologies, control and programming. 2 Comments
Tags: code, coding, control, program, programmable, programming, software.
Do you wonder why it’s important to help pupils learn to code?
The products of coding or computer programming are around us every day, whether we see it or not. Daily living in today’s society depends on someone somewhere having created something in which coding or programming has played a part. Many voices have spoken about how the society in which our pupils live requires more people now and in the future to be skilled in programming or coding.

There is a fear expressed that schools which ignore teaching programming or coding are setting up pupils to only be consumers rather than creators of the code-driven products of today and the future.

Many teachers of today, themselves unfamiliar with coding or programming from their own education, may be anxious that they don’t have the skills needed to teach pupils coding or programming.

So this post sets out to collate resources which will support teachers to provide age-appropriate support for their pupils in including coding or programming in the context of different curriculare areas.

Mitch Resnick, one of the main creators of the coding program called Scratch, delivered a TED Talk outlining the benefits of teaching childrens to code, so they can do more than just “read” new technologies — but also create them.

Ginni Skalski has written a blog post of an interveiw with Red Hat product manager Burr Sutter (who works to make developers more successful and productive with open source tools, technologies, and techniques) who talks about why he believes children need to know how to solve technical problems, to know how to fix the tech tools they use every day, and how he balances that with other activities in which children participate.

Watch the short video below to see a few creators of well-known online tools (from Facebook to Dropbox) explain briefly what they first did to get started in coding, and why it’s important we have more people learning to program. This is also described slightly more fully here. Also it is part of http://code.org/ The Hour of Code which links to quotes from a far wider range of well known or influential individuals on the importance of teachign coding today.

Charlie Love has written on the Nesta site about why we should be finding ways to incorporate the teaching of coding into the curriculum, and highlights the links to SDcotland’s Curriculum for Excellence.
5 Reasons to Teach Kids to Code is a graphical poster  created by @GrechenNoelle and @jonmattingly and presented by Kodable (a free programming tool and curriculum for the iPad) which sets out in a visually interesting way why it is important schools empower pupils to learn skills of programming.

Dr. Patricia Fioriello sets out in a blog post why we should be Teaching Kids To Code to Prepare Them For The Future. The post lists 6 reasons, and describes them, and ends by advocating including teaching perogramming in the classroom.

In a BBC Technology report “Where is the next generation of coders?” Jane Wakefield reports on the move to encourage young children to learn programming/coding. The gives the background to the need to have programming taught at an early age, and also what kinds of tools are available.

Programming Power: Does Learning to Code Empower Kids? This post by Ben Williamson looks at the idea that young people should learn to code, which has become a global educational aspiration in the last few years. And asks what kinds of questions should digital media and learning researchers ask about these developments? He suggests three approaches: first, to take a historical look at learning to code; second, to consider it in political and economic context; and third, to understand its cultural dimensions.

Why Learning to CodeMakes My Brain Hurt! This post by Mamie Rheingold explains what she believes learners learn when they are programming. 

So what tools and resources are available?
There is a host of tools available which can be used to support teaching pupils coding or programming. Some are downloadable software, some are specific to certian gaming devices or computing environments. Some work on specific mobile devices as apps. And some are online, requiring no downloads.

Chris Betcher describes and illustrates in this video a range of tools suitable for children to learn to code.

Edutopia blogpost about apps for teaching pupils coding provides a list of a few programs or apps which are aimed at use with children. Each is briefly described. 

Code.Org provides a host of resources collated around teaching coding at different stages and ages and for different purposes – but all aimed at encouraging teachers to use coding with pupils. These links include Tutorials for the Classroom: CodeHS (Online curriculum designed specifically for high school classrooms); Codecademy After School (complete online after-school activities for a coding club); Tynker (programming for primary school in a fun way); Bootstrap (high-school algebra and geometry concepts using computer programming); CS Unplugged (Fun classroom exercises to teach computer science principles, with no computers needed).  There are links to various schemes to bring enthusiasts into schools as well as platforms aimed at use with children.

Alice
Alice is a  tool to enable creating an animated story, an interactive game, or a video to share online.

Espresso Coding
Espresso Coding is a series of online coding lessons for pupils (free until October 2014). It guides pupils through the elements of learning to code and make their own apps to share with their friends and family. It includes 70+ step-by step lessons and tablet-friendly activities for pupils to create apps, full lesson plans for each activity, a website area where apps can be published and shared, an introduction to coding using elements of JavaScript, and short, helpful video guides.

Kodu
Kodu is a programming tool to create games on the PC and XBox.
Logo
Logo programming language forms the basis for a number of programmable devices, whether on-screen on robots or vehicles used in schools such as Beebot and Roamer. Click here for resources to support the use of Beebot and Roamer devices or their on-screen equivalents.

Raspberry Pi
Zondle Raspberyy Pi Programming Kit is just one of the ways in which Raspberry Pi can be used to help pupils learn programming. Raspberry Pi is a relatively inexpensive palm sized computer which can be used for programming games.

Scratch
Scratch was previously only available as a downloadable program but is now available as an online version (Scratch 2.0) – this is a programming language that makes it easy to create interactive stories, animations, games, music and art – and share online.
Scratch 2.0 Starter Kit – Tools and resources collated by Randy Rodgers to help get teachers get their classes started with Scratch programming.
For those who like to have a paper handheld guide to using Scratch 2.0 (in comic-book style) then there is a book available for purchase reviewed here by Mark Frauenfelder. It’s also available for purchase in digital Kindle format.

Other Tools
Coding in the Classroom: 10 Tools Students Can Use to Design Apps and Video Games lists and describes 10 programs available for learning about programming, wther for PCs or mobile devices or other devices.

Ask A Teacher: 20 Programming Websites for K-8 – provides a list of 20 programming tools for use in schools with pupils. Includes videos, tutorials and links to resources.

Who can help?
On a Mission: How Code Academy is Helping get Programming into the Classroom.  Lee Summers describes here how Codecademy for teachers is an online educational site built specifically for teachers. It offers slides for each lesson, as well as a quiz and practice set where students can test their knowledge.  The site has been set up so that teachers can craft their own materials and then share them with the rest of the community.

To keep up with developments in such a fast-changing envronment there are a number of groups and individuals who share online via Twitter ideas and resources for supporting teachers in enocuraging pupils to learn to code. These include the following:

@CodeClub – for resources to support programming with 9-11 year-olds

@CoderScot – CoderDojo Scotland is part of a global collaboration which provides free coding clubs for young people to learn programming in a fun and sociable environment.

BETT 2013

What to look out for:

Prof Brian Cox keynote 12:30  Feb 1st
Tim Rylands 10:30 Feb 2nd
Sugata Mitra 1230 Feb 2nd

Learning Together area with heppell.net

BETT video conferencing day 31st Jan
Www.vcfl.net. lots of cool people doing seminars from 1030 until 1430

SEN zone – I am hoping for better things this year from SEN zone.  Last year was a little disappointing. 

Technology training live has lots of training on all day 30th jan from ipads to science and maths

Learn live MS theatre
Weds to Sat.  Again lots of fun stuff from seminars on BYOD…cloud computing and all that jazz

Learn live – sponsored by NAACE
Lots of cool stuff from people such as Leon Cych, Steve Bunce Miles Berry, Penny Patterson, Eben Upton, Tony Sheppard, David Rogers,l

Learn Live SEN also looks fab on Weds 30th January

The schook leaders summit at BETT has some really interesting strategic people from DfE and inspectorates across the world.  http://www.bettshow.com/schoolleaderssummit 

Exam boards
WJEC stand f106 ..get some computer science resources

SMART technologies are on stand c240 and are showing new multitouch projector LightRaise 60wi

Learn live – Jan 30 to 31st Higher Education is quite good and has many good speakers talking about VLE, blended learning, MOOC’s, eportfolios, digital reputation (pete yeomans)

Learn Live – Learning at work 30th to 1st Feb.  BBC Academy and so on.  Good if you are CPD lead in corporate world too.

Links
Www.besa.org uk
Www.alt.ac.uk
Www.naace.co.uk
Www.nasen.org.uk

…..and as its the new year im looking at http://www.techogym.com

#ICT500 Rethinking ICT

There are some amazing posts from many esteemed colleagues, teachers and advisors on rethinking ICT. I am assuming, as a reader, we are aware of all the reports, discussions and the plethora of groups who have staked a claim to support ICT and computing but lets cut to the chase. I know we need to speak to learners, I know we have blank canvas and I know I am doing what I always hate..solutioneering but here goes.

A balanced curriculum with entitlement for all students. The content will have a mix of flavours as does science education does with biology, chemistry and physics. We need ICT users ..but proficient users…actually expert users. We need people to make software too and get a real interest in how it works. We also need to keep students safe and make them aware of the risks as well as experience the benefits across the school and at home for learning in, and beyond, the classroom.

Do we need spreadsheets, databases..I would say yes
Do we need word processing and publishing ..of course
Do we need games development and design ..yes but I would say the the systems life cycle is applicable to this as well as app development.
Do we need a Internet use and safety? that has to be inherent for all year groups
And so on…..

What’s new then dan?……well NOTHING BUT EVERYTHING

What? I know, well what I mean is that the core we had was already there. we now have the option to really move on. Lets use open source as an example. Free to use, distribute, change, share, update and evolve. We can feel safe in the knowledge that we can use all kinds of tools to promote these skills.

A few things worry me though:

Assessment and transferring between key stage to build upon prior knowledge and skills.
Skills versus capability ..Please let’s not go back to claim or ECDL.
ICT staff training and ‘it’s easier to use this off the shelf one from Pearson etc’

Finally…..just remember what’s wrong…when Developing your curriculum think about what you really hated teaching and what kids didn’t enjoy, but down stray away from the hard stuff or the mundane.. However the process to evidence such as printscreens which STILL drive me crazy. Take OCR nationals And DiDA for example..let’s move more to the DiDA model of electronic eportfolio of work and description of the process rather than mind numbing before and after Printscreens of OCR.

anyway I have probably missed some stuff out here but tried to put a more practical angle to allow this. I hate typing on an iPad so sorry for any typos.

20120224-115704.jpg

BETT 2012

I have realised the BETT show makes me paranoid!  As a head of department, Assistand Head of Sixthform, Class Teacher and Advisor.  There are always  teachers and companies with amazing ideas, practice and solutions.  So thats actually good then?  Yes, so what did I see today of interest.  Here are my very brief and badly typed notes:

BETT 2012 Day 1

Ok so spent last night planning my tour of duty through the BETT show. It is the first time we did not have a stand there so was happier looking around the place and having a coffee. I had planned to see all the big guns as well as take part in a MirandaMod or two about SEN and ICT. These are my highlights to the first day.

Michael Gove opened the event and created chaos, instability by using the most attended ICT teachers event to tell them computer science is back.

In summary :

The trends this year seem to be on content and upgrades rather than any new technology or devices. there seemed to also be more international suppliers available which makes good competition and innovative practice.

Software of interest

Capita emerging app by groupcall. This allows you to access SIMS from a mobile app on iPhone, iPad or Android devices. 2000 for Site license or 200 for one plus 99 per device there after.

Most publishers such as Hodder (stand D67) have some good resources and e-textbooks to put into your VLE for all GCSE subjects. Nelson Thornes (stand H6) are pushing their Kaboodle online blended learning system for secondary schools. Pie Corbett and Johnny Ball are there on Friday, think of a number.

Loxit (G20) have a good selection of laptop and mobile tablet storage units. To complement this Parat (stand S84) have lots of new parasync devices to allow the multiple synchronisation of devices such as iPads.

Zulogic have a new version of their popular Zu3D stop frame animation software and at BETT you can buy a copy with quite a nice webcam, green screen and plasticine for £50.

Clicker 6 (crick software stand F40) is out and has some some good new functionality. If you use clicker 5 there are special upgrade prices too.

The entwining and commenius project by the British Council are free and available online. They are at the upper level in gallery 1.

MLS (micro librarian systems stand C20) have a new solution which includes the loaning of ebooks via their librarian mobile app.

Google (stand E70) have some really good seminars throughout each day such as chrome books, google docs, google tools and so on.

 

Hardware of interest

SMART new interactive projector is worth a look. They are also unveiling the Notebook 11 software soon that will be available to schools which is fully HTML 5 and web compliant. It will be a free upgrade as well so kept an eye out.

Muraspec (stand J2) had some amazing paint that you could use on any wall or table which then becomes a wipe off whiteboard also good for short throw projection units. Great idea, low tech and pedagogically great value for money. ZU3D (stand k11) was showcasing their stop motion software. A cost effective solution for mulit layered animation and video/sound editing.

 

Courses

OCR Nationals course (new version) will be called the Cambridge National. This has gone through QCDA. Look at their website for further details for Key Stage 4 course information.

BT (stand J6) released their new ambassadors of IT course. It is an online course for Esafety and also for online mentoring.

Achievement for All have been funded by the DfE to create an inclusive curriculum and resources to support students with SEN and beyond. They are running some small scale conferencing events about ICT and SEN every day at 12:00 and 3:30 that are free to attend at Gallery room 1.

Media Smart (stand S61) has several excellent curriculum resources for teaching advertising and the media to 6-11year olds. pedagogy

 

Digital is not always best

I saw this blog post the other day and thought how apt it was as you can relate to all types of tech. So here it is in full:

Source: http://oneslidephotography.com/photography-in-the-digital-age-and-its-inhibiting-factors/

Photography has been rapidly growing. Now, the experience of learning photography has been continually made easier by the technologies of the digital age. The dark room skill, which was once half of the photography experience, has been eliminated by the digital editing process. Now, editing can be done using various editing softwares such as Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture. Now the problem is, with all these ease of the digital age, why do some people feel the science of photography hasn’t evolved? Or do you also feel this way? This post may provide some enlightenment of some of the reasons barricading the progress of photography in this digital age.

1. The ever-growing reliance of digital post-editing.
Digital photo editing is much easier and simpler than editing the photograph in a dark room. But now, many people are trapped in the convenience it offers. Many photographers become spoiled in that they think lightly of the production of a good on-site photograph, thinking that the ordinary can always be made extraordinary later during the post editing. This then reduces the will to be well prepared before a shoot, like preparing proper lighting, background, and model’s make up. This means these photographers will spend much more time in front of the computer editing than concentrating on being the best on shoot. True, setting a professional photo shoot can take more time and more complicate setups, but this is where the art lies. More prepared photos result in a more natural look that will not require much digital post-editing.

2. Lack of understanding of the camera used.
Digital cameras, both point-and-shoots and DSLRS, are now more easily obtained and the range in price is wider than ever. There’s now a wide variation of different features for a range of different budgets, from the very cheap to the very expensive. And in this digital era, most cameras now have the Auto mode feature, where photographers can press the trigger button, and the camera will do the rest. With the comforts this Auto Mode brings, photographers are now pampered by the simplicity and therefor lacks the understanding of the concepts of Depth of Field, ISO, or the effects of shutter speeds. Download this DSLR Photography guide to learn more about the basics of photography.

3. Good photographs are produced by expensive/advanced cameras?
Many beginner photographers think that only expensive cameras can produce good photographs. Let’s rethink this opinion. Do expensive cameras automatically find interesting objects? Do advanced cameras automatically compose photos? Do expensive cameras find the best lighting for a photograph all on its own? The answers are of course a resounding “no.” However great the camera is, there’s always someone behind it that controls its production in creating a photograph. And that person behind the camera is called a photographer. Good photographers are considered good because of their creativity, in composing objects, talent in capturing a moment, and their knack in determining the best time for shooting photographs. Cameras are mere enablers for photographers to create their works of art. A great photographer can use even the most basic point-and-shoot cameras to produce amazing photographs. Try and browse works of photography before 1990. There were plenty of photographs created by great photographers using analog cameras that didn’t have any auto mode functions. When an amateur photographer meets an advanced camera, does this guarantee an extraordinary photograph? I highly doubt it. The most important thing is the “man behind the lens.” Practice often and continue learning, even the professionals were once amateurs.

4. Influence of the online communities.
With the development of the digital era, many photography communities emerge online on the Internet. Indeed, these communities are a great way to share works of photography and share knowledge amongst photographers. The problem now is, most members of the online photography community are amateur photographers. So most comments in these sites are from fellow amateur photographers. Do not get easily satisfied when approvals are given toward your photograph in these online photography communities. High approval ratings of your photographs in these sites do not necessarily mean your photographs are ready for the professional world. If you want to go into photography professionally, don’t just showcase your work in online communities. Develop your skill by entering photography competitions, or send your works to print medias because photographs that make it into a print media usually go through an intense selection process selected by professional editors. So if your photograph is chosen to print, that means your photograph has gotten the approval of a person highly experienced in the field of photography.

BETT part 2

So I don’t know why I tagged this post with innovation. For me BETT got back to basics which was a good thing. Last year BSF meant that companies pitched for the grand prize and not the sector as a whole. The people that are here a teachers who want to innovate but have no money…show some respect. (rant over).

So what was good….well lots of Cloud based software and solutions. lots of software for subjects. APPs to integrate with software such as SIMS I found interesting. I however think I enjoyed the TeachMeet Takeover and TeachMeet BETT. These were all well prepared and interesting and more importantly done by teachers for teachers. Awesome..again if you want to know who presented you need to Google it.

It was great, I mean really great, to catch up with all my friends on twitter. Amazing
There are so many awesome, innovative educators around.

So with that we all head back to work hoping that some of our musings will change practice in schools and impact on the kids that we teach and support. Money well spent? Yes….Time spent with colleagues and educators….priceless.