Archive for January, 2013

Lessons for Innovators was a lunchtime talk at NESTA.

If you have never been, as I hadn’t, I was impressed by their ‘cool’ offices. Obviously not of a par with Google Cool but definitely cool. The space was well designed and accented with vibrant colours. It would make a very creative learning space. AKA my classroom…. One can dream.

Anyway back to the talk: which did have a little irony in the fact they were talking about MOOCs and online learning/ teaching innovation for it to be delivered in a traditional seminar /lecture format. Not that there is anything wrong with that and it was the best possible delivery method given all factors. They could have broadcast/ live streamed the lecture? Maybe next time.

There were 2 speakers, both of whom were excellent at the lectern.

Martin Bean, Vice Chancellor of the open university and Simon Nelson CEO at future learn.

Martin was first to speak, if you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing him you must take the opportunity. He is a brilliant and witty speaker. He spoke of hover boards and 21st Century, in the media portrays that we (education in all forms)

“we are not being disruptive enough”

A very interesting thought considering the exam and content reforms that are happening. the news this morning was of Gove’s announcement to change A levels to terminal exams? memory test? Lets leave that for another post;)

Back to Martin: in his 25 very successful years in arena of education in some form or another he has developed 8 rules.

    1.Be Bold: challenge and don’t take no for answer. Look to the future and arrive their before anyone else does!
    2.Get out of the blocks: Get your idea out even if it is not perfect. Iterate/ Sprint over and over again. Adapt , change and modify to improve your idea.
    3.Collective Conscientiousness: get you team on board. Everyone needs to feel that they have a stake in the market. This is Game Changing.
    4.Bring your Governance with you: involve them early. Challenge their “No not possible” responses. Sell your idea, what are you doing and why. Excite, enthuse everyone.
    5.Deadlines: no excuses, stick to them NO matter what. Fear is a blocker, communicate but stick to your deadlines. It gives focus to all stakeholders.

What a year

I am self-professed geek and huge sci-fi fan. My teaching allows me to use sci-fi examples and technological innovations to engage and educate students.

On January 11th I was quoted in the Guardian (front page article) in reference to Michael Gove’s announcement regarding the ICT programme of study:

Genevieve Smith Nunes, an IT and business studies teacher at Dorothy Stringer high school in Brighton, also welcomed the announcement. She said: “In my own school we have developed our own programme of study anyway, because of the constraints that ICT has – but still incorporating all of the elements that are there [in the existing curriculum].

“If they scrapped ICT, then a lot of teachers might feel that their jobs are at risk – depending on how Gove presents that. That wouldn’t be a worry at my school because we’re quite forward- thinking about what students need.

“By taking away what is prescriptive, it would allow the teacher and student to develop the [computer science] curriculum together and make it effective, creative and thoughtful … If universities are going to help us develop the curriculum content that can only be a benefit from the classroom teacher’s perspective.”

I was also a panellist on the Guardian live blog talking about technology and it’s benefits as a learning and support tool. It was a great experience if not a little scary. I was blogging in the staff room in my free period trying to make sure that I didn’t have any spelling or grammar errors. Thanks go out to the staff for helping me 🙂

With the recent announcement from Michael Gove in terms of scrapping the ict programme of study. No need to panic, it is in regards to what is taught in schools and not the removing ICT from the curriculum.

from Michael Gove’s speech Children COULD be using Scratch… we have been using Scratch for a few years and I am currently piloting a project teaching Scratch to a class of Year2 students. He talks about 11 year olds using Scratch and year 2s are 6 and 7years old. Then about yr11 developing apps: I developed a SoW (13 and 14years old) scheme of work where students plan and build apps using various tools including Appshed, Applicationcraft and the Apps for Good course.

At Sussex Downs College we have kept up with the times and modified our curriculm accordingly. We now develop skills in programming using multiple development environments and language. We have decided to use open source or freeware as this enables access from home without any financial impact on parents or guardians.

Outside of College: I am working on a scratch programming project with 3 local primary schools. Delivered over 6 weeks. I taught 1 hour a week and I will also be teaching 2/6 lessons with 3 yr9 students. Each school had a different focus: Animation, Gaming and Lego WeDo. It course was a resounding success. I am looking forward to delivering training to more teachers via the CAS Master Teacher Program and Teaching Schools. These sessions will be in South East at various venues.

Events: Speaking

    Google Guardian Junior HackEvent
    TeachMeet Brighton
    CAS Conference
    Stringer Hackday
    Brighton Digital Festival
    Raspberry Jam London
    Liberal Democrat Conference: fringe event
    Google TeachFirst Conference
    RaspberryJam Xmas London

What about 2013: Even MORE exciting than 2012.
DigiMaka is a social enterprise co-founded with Justin Kirby. Hack Events, Digital Maker Leadership program for GCSE & A Level students and workshops for community and teachers to support the DigiMaka leaders.

    BETT learn Live Lab Friday 1st Feb.
    #Hackshop Computer Science Education Hackevent for Brighton & Hove Schools: 15th Feb.
    EICE Education Innovation Exhibition & Conference.
    plus many more events that are still in the planning stage.

It is going to be a great year!

I really enjoy hack events both delivering and being apart of one. This post is going to be about plans for 2013 and bringing (CS) Computer Science to all. In way where you get to make and break things. Fail and succeed all within one sprint! Making it FUN!

Learning should be FUN! Doesn’t always work out that way but I do my up most to get to FUN.

Well, what I am doing first. My fab Software Development students are designing/creating and delivering a “Game Lab” on the last day of term.Only 5 weeks, no pressure Yr12s. This is in preparation for other “hack”events that they have to plan as part of their course…added in by me 😉 The are using different software to created games that they will all compete and play against each other. They are using Scratch, Greenfoot, Unity3D and Minecraft. I also have a challenge task of the students creating a leader board that auto updates their scores….

After Xmas we planning for a Learn Live Lab #Hackshop at BETT show on Friday 1st 12-1pm “App Development 101”. Student alongside me will be delivering the session so that all attendees can build their own app in under an hour. For the workshop we will be using AppShed which is a fantastic build (and learning) environment.

Then start the bigger events. A Computer Science #hackshop with University of Brighton for local teachers and students. They will be building and creating project using Raspberry Pi, Technology Will Save us Kits, Apps for Good, AppShed, Mozilla Webmaker and MANY others. It is going to be AWESOME. I can’t wait to get all the plans finalised, it is pretty exciting. This is be live streamed using Google Air Hangouts on my pegleggen channel.

Then there is the Education Innovation Conference & exhibition in Manchester March 8-10 which closes with a massive Raspberry Jamboree.

This hackshop will link in to the Brighton Digital Festival which September 2013. I am hoping to run 1-2 events at the month-long festival. One of which will be another hackevent (maybe overnight… but we will have check the risk assessments first!).

Ramblings over… I need to sleep before teaching my lovely A Level students tomorrow.