Archive for the ‘technology’ 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

Anjin 1600

Posted: February 22, 2013 in computing, Digital, education, technology
Tags: , ,

#anjin1600

An 8 hour game jam 11-7pm Saturday 23rd February at the lighthouse in Brighton. Using artist, David Blandy‘s work.

ANJIN 1600: Episode 1 from David Blandy on Vimeo.

During the day we will be creating various parts of the story using Unity. It is a very powerful game engine used by experts and hobbyist alike. I personally use it in my grade 13 Games Design class. It allows the students to create their own game as well as improving the coding skills. We use javascript but Unity supports other scripting languages.

To bring the game to life I will be using Space for Unity which is an amazing space construction asset kit for Unity. The detail and usability are brilliant. Plus this only came available on Wednesday (3 days before the event). So not much time to play around with the asteroids, planets, nebulas plus many other features. Stefan, space for unity creator, will be online about 2pm (23/02/13)to talk about how he created Space for Unity and to give the gamers some tips.

If you are aged between 16-600 then come and join us for the game jam in Brighton. All you need is your laptop, Unity installed and £5

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
    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.

This is an article I was asked to write to by BETT show marketing

BETT show: App Development 101.

What is Appshed. Apart from being a fantastic mobile app development platform it is an amazing learning and creative tool for the classroom. I cannot praise enough the platform nor the support that I, and many other teachers, have received from the Appshed team. Especially when I have my crazy ideas “can I just do this….” generally something that requires a server farm or at least 4 developers a month to build. I am always met with a convivial “yes, it’s possible”.

A bit of history: AppShed began back in 2008 as a business need. Rob suggested that they build a CMS (content management system) for apps instead of building each app from scratch. Torsten (CEO) didn’t need any further encouragement. Immediately development began on a native iPhone app framework using XML files to create dynamically generated apps. From that initial framework AppShed.com was born.

I am such an advocate of the AppShed platform that I gave a workshop at #Mozfest November 2012. The workshop was attended by industry gurus and delivered by me… just a classroom teacher. The workshop was a great experience and we received really positive feedback. One of the “users”actually built their app using a smart phone during the workshop!. It does require some delicate touches to build an app on a smart phone.

At the BETT show Learn live lab myself and my A-level students will be delivering the workshop. Why my students.. because they are fantastic and this will enable them to experience something impossible in the class. Real World business interaction. Helping as well as designing the workshop. The students will be creating a template app for the event along with the resources to go with. What I like to call a #nanohack. As part of their course they have to develop systems for a particular “client”. I run hackdays/ hackjams for young and old alike so now my students get to join in too. They now get to enjoy the fun and excitement that goes along with creating and delivering new technology driven experiences for others.

A little explanation regarding hacks/ nanohacks:What is a hack day? A hack-day, my definition”a collaborative environment where designers, developers or anyone interested get together to create something based on a theme”. The theme is their to inspire, help and guide the creatives to the ultimate goal of building something “awesome”, as my students would put it.

During the workshop you will learn about the platform both from within and outside a classroom setting. This is important as some of the cool stuff such as twitter widgets are blocked at most schools. Though, as we are not in school – Cool Stuff here we come. You will be able to customise the app to you desired content. Galleries of images (check for copyright), Maps / Locations, links to Videos. Upload your own files directly into your profile so that you can use the documents for any other app that you might wish to create. Link to Flickr accounts, create interaction/ quizzes using google docs. The list is endless. By the end of the session you will have a fully functional app on your smart phone.

I have created an app for my GCSE Computing class and their parents/ guardians. that has links to the exam board, online homework using socrative.com, uploaded files and other websites that are helpful for the course. Any modification that I make to app is then pushed out to the user next time they launch the app.

At the time of writing this AppShed are in their final stages of testing their new learning/ development environment. This new environment has been beautifully designed to enable and engage the “user” to produce the best possible app. It allows the “user” much more freedom and independence from the instructor. AppShed will soon be launching this entirely new interface, AppShed “K2” has been re-designed from the ground up to maximise the user experience to make app-building even simpler for the novice user, while at the same time increasing the flexibility for advanced users. AppShed “K2” has a simple column layout: the simulator on the left, and dynamic toolbars on the right. Apologies for the Tron “user” reference I couldn’t help myself. 🙂

“AppShed Academy is a versatile and comprehensive online tool to facilitate student development of apps in education. Intuitive, step-by-step learning allows teachers to include app development in the ICT curriculum without the need for an in-depth understanding of the app creation.” Their own words which I could not have written any better.

We all are really excited about being at the Bett Show and the opportunity to let other experience the joy and excitement of using and building your own beautifully designed app in under an hour. You can’t beat that at the BETT Show. Come and join in the fun Friday 1st Feb 12:15-13:00, Gallery Room 6. Any questions send me a tweet @pegleggen.

I was speaking to my lovely colleague, Russ, today about taking the Stanford/Coursera online courses. Oh the fun we both had. I remember the first course I did last year, AI Advance route….. why oh why did I do that. I remember the pressure of trying to complete assignments/homework and to study the required 8-10hrs.

This and others are not designed for Teachers. We (teachers) are already overloaded and have very little time to carry out personal study. You may disagree, which is fine, but no bashing teachers as that is already done very well at present.

I am not disregarding those online courses, they are amazing and I have learnt so much from them. It is just the format does lend itself well to those of us who are teachers. The MOOC (mass online open classroom) has, in general, a very small completion rate of anywhere between 3-7%. This is not to say those courses aren’t successful but for teachers we need a different approach. This is something that I have been hoping to develop further and it looks like I will be able to do just that after the new year.

Wish me luck on this new adventure.

What and how would you like to learn online?