Archive for the ‘Conference’ Category

Next Up

Westminster Briefing.

The other Thursday I was invited to speak bout the content of the curriculum with a focus on Key stage 2. It might seem odd to ask an A level teacher to discuss what is happening in in primary; Not really if you know me. I do a lot of out reach with year 2.

This is what I said: (from the transcript)

Okay, you will be glad, I’ve only got four slides.

I teach software development and A-Level Computing, but I actually do lots of outreach work with Key Stage 1 and that’s at a request of a lot of the teachers in the Brighton area. So I’m just going to talk about some case studies that I’ve done in the last 18 months.

So I worked with three different primary schools working with Year 2, and again Scratch, mainly because it’s free open source, it’s easy to use. There are other ones that you can use, and these are very different infant schools with different cohorts and things like that.

So the first class was Stanford Infants, and this was mainly because my 7 year old son was coming home and his teacher said he was rubbish at ICT. Okay, I teach A-Level Computing, my husband works in IT, so does my brother and my dad, he can code and he can switch between all of our different devices quite easily, so he’s not exactly brilliant, but he’s certainly not rubbish either, and I was thinking, what are they learning in their school? Not, obviously, your school. So I thought well… and I spoke to some other schools and they said, well we’ve got a tight curriculum, like you are teaching dance, the next minute you are doing history, the next minute you are doing this, you’ve got very little time to learn to then deliver something really good. And I thought, well actually I want to go and do something, so I then went into the schools, delivered a programme of six 1 hour sessions and the teachers learnt alongside the students, and I gave them lesson plans and worksheets, so that they could have something that they could then change and do whatever they wanted with.

So we did animation, games and Lego Wedo and every single one of the teachers told me, bring in your resources that you currently use and don’t change any of the terminology. I used the word algorithm, they just explained it, we had the teacher using Makaton sign language, kids running round, being variables and things like that, and it was really fun, because I then took the stuff that I learnt from the infant class back into my Year 10 class and being silly and playing and messing around, they actually understood it a lot better, and that was quite useful for me as a teacher, it was really good to see that in terms of pedagogy.

So the questions to look at. Are they prepared for secondary school? A bit like what Ian was saying, it looks very, very programme heavy, just coding, there’s no art, there’s certainly no mention of collaboration as such, and there’s certainly no kind of creative aspect to it. One of my big things is that even in my A-Level Computing and my Software Development courses, it has to be creative, it has to have a purpose and an audience and it generally has to be a bit cool and a bit off the wall, a bit like what Miles was saying, I do lots of hacking in my lesson, I also take my students out. I did an 8 hour Unity3d Hack with a local art gallery and artist last Saturday. I didn’t really know much about Unity, we had some Unity staff there and the whole industry link. I learnt more in that 8 hours than I could have done in a whole year of doing Unity in a classroom.

So, if the Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 teachers feel confident, then that’s where the creative and the art and the collaboration will take them from being the kind of whacky teacher or the scared teacher, to actually being able to do all of those other things. But again, like everyone is saying, without the CPD they won’t be able to do that.

I offered a CPD for primary educators in November and nobody wanted to come, Programme of Study came out, I’ve now offered two which are next week, which are full, and there’s 40 teachers at each one. So you can see from the difference in the fear factor, which there shouldn’t be, but I do feel for the actual primary teachers, their curriculum content is massive compared to what I have to teach at A-Level. You know, I know I have my subjects, they are in depth but they are not broad, and that is the difference, being able to feel secure, that’s where the CPD is required.

Should there be a test? Definitely not, under any circumstances. My 7 year old comes home with so much homework I can barely cope with it, let alone having a test, and he’s a boy and summer born, so obviously he wouldn’t do very well. So there is a big issue with that.

Does the technology changes keep up with the Programme of Study? No we are in education, nothing keeps up with the technology changes. Anyone read the AQA A-Level Computing, it’s a bit backward. So, no offense to any exam boards obviously, I’m just…

So it takes a while to change, so I would say no, but you can incorporate that in just sort of maybe exposing them to the technology changes, but obviously not focusing too much on that until you are secure as a teacher.

Does it encourage? It can do, but again only if when you come up from the Key Stage 1 all the way up to Key Stage 5, that each one of those levels work together, and unfortunately, one of the things I have found, even though Brighton is quite collaborative, we don’t work across the Key Stages, so all of Key Stage 1 kind of have theirs… Yes, I’m being told to shut up as well.

So basically, that’s what I say, we need to work more collaboratively together, there needs more CPD and yes there should be online training.

And that’s me done.

Community, collaborate and creativity

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
    MozFest
    Google TeachFirst Conference
    #nanohack
    #GameLab
    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.
2013

    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.