Archive for the ‘scratch’ Category

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!


Scratch programming: who said kids can’t code!

Firstly I would like to thank Stanford Infants and Regent Class, for allowing me in to their classroom. You are amazing!

The project: I am a secondary teacher who goes (on my day off) into one of three Yr2 classes at Stanford Infants to teach programming using Scratch and the Animation 12 competition. I initially developed the course as the workload on primary teachers is already huge; Then having to learn a new software package and the concepts behind it just too much. Why not use “Us” secondary experts to deliver that topic and the class teacher can learn at the same time as the student. One of the key things has been the support from the class teacher, especially when I am pitching to high level or going too fast. It has been an amazing experience for me as a practitioner.

I was terrified before the first lesson. I didn’t sleep the night before; it was like going out on my first placement as a trainee teacher. Funny thinking of it now, 30 6-7 year olds, what can they do apart from think the class teacher is great. That all being said I much prefer the “banter” with the secondary students. I say banter, but as you teachers out there already know it can be very challenging.

The Project itself:
6 weeks of 1 hour delivery from me. The class teacher would then develop the work further to allow the project to progress. We started with the “what is an animation” using cartoons to give the students an idea. Each lesson I showed the Scratch environment and the initial reaction was one of fear but lesson 2 we talked about robots and how you give them instructions. Also in regards to plays and the stage directions and scripts. As a class they instructed me on what to add or modify. We tested as we went along and they were able to “debug” with a few hints. The joy and delight of achieving their first bit of programming was infectious.

By the time this blog goes I will have finished delivering the project. One of the lessons will be delivered by 3 of my yr9 students. They are also new to Scratch and have some great ideas about what the students could do and how they could help them in developing the Yr2 students programming skills. You would be surprise at the planning to get 3 students out of the classroom for 1 lesson. The risk assessment alone……

Their knowledge acquisition was surprising to say the least. In the same lesson they were able to tell me how to stop the sprite from going off the stage by using the “if on edge bounce” block. Just Brilliant! The lessons fly by, it is a joy to teach. Any secondary who has the opportunity to go and teach at their local primary PLEASE jump at it. It is scary at first but it is also great fun and they think you’re great; something that doesn’t happen as often in secondary schools.

I have learnt a lot from the class about my teaching and I would like to thank them for that.
Initially I planned the 6 week course but I modify with the class teacher after each session. As soon as the project is finished I will re write the project and share the resources here.