Posts Tagged ‘teaching’

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 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?


Novemeber 1st. Google offices near Totthenham Court road.
I was invited to speak at this conference in September when I visited Google’s office at Victoria, the developers/engineers site. Amazing office and working environment …. I want to work their.

Opening Keynote from Alex Hope talking about STEAM not just STEM- the future. Creativity is key. Rigorous teaching of Computer Science. Fusion of Art/Tech

The whole day conference consisted of talks both in the morning and at the close of the day with afternoon workshops. Apps for good, Raspberry Pi, Code Club, Decoded, Technology Will Save Us and many more offering a taste of what can be included in your classroom or club. It was a fantastic opportunity to see what different teachers, academics and industry experts all had to say about the role of computer science in education. It is VITAL for the economy was the message.

I spoke in the morning session about the view from the classroom alongside Donna Pratty and Peter Kemp. His A level wiki book is amazing, a fantastic resource for anyone teaching GCSE or A Level Computing/ Computer Science or ICT.


Lets hangout!

This is my post about using google hangouts in my teaching practice and why I think that hangouts are just AWESOME!

Google hangouts are video conferencing with extras. They are fabulous resource for sharing practice, virtual face2face meetings, training and more. The best thing from my perspective is that you can have up to 10 active users and it is FREE. And us teachers all love the word FREE.

The reason for initially using hangouts was to offer training to 3 others schools located across the UK ( I am in Brighton). I wanted to be able to share documents, chat and see them hence HANGOUTS 🙂 I can hear the groans, what about Skype? Skype is another fantastic tool but once there are 3 or more you have to pay plus it doesn’t have the ease of sharing G-docs. The picture quality is probably better, especially when looking at code, but not enough to make the switch. It is hangouts all the way!

The training was an Introduction to Greenfoot prior to going on the Guardian Hackday this April. Speaking to the other teachers they said that they have limited opportunity to teach programming at the moment and would like some help in getting started. It was very scary for me; A bit like when I first went into to the year 2 classes to teach Scratch.

It was initially 3-4 session after school for 1 hour to teach the students and the teachers about Greenfoot and Java, as this is the language used in the Greenfoot environment. I would have like to deliver more sessions prior to the hack day but it took my LEA so long to unblock 3 sites to the handouts to work. Funnily enough they didn’t unblock the chat window initially so it was a very interesting first session. Though, I don’t think the other schools noticed that I was doing the hangout from my desktop and my phone for the first couple of minutes 🙂

As they have worked so well we are continuing to worked together in the multiple-school project groups and develop some further projects! Exciting times to be teaching! I am putting together a program of hangouts for next academic year. Let’s see if am I brave enough to share with everyone. If you are interested just let me know.

Hangouts for expert speakers: I also teach app development using the Apps For Good course, with a few modifications due to time constraints within the curriculum. Which, by the way, is amazing sign up. The support, training, resources and near around the clock help is staggering. Part of the course they arrange and you can do this yourself too, expert speakers. Well next week 6-8 of my students will be talking to the Head of Mobile Technology at Reuters, New York via hangouts! They have never used hangouts before so we had a little test and it worked perfectly. I explained the reason why I use hangouts and they were impressed! Do we have a convert?

Enough of me rambling on, sign up to Google+ and you are away. It is a fantastic teaching resource that should be used more often!