Some may consider “Failing to Succeed?” to be a risky title for an Ed Tech organisation’s annual conference. Not so. This year’s Naace Conference explored the necessity to both experience and learn from failure as an integral part of the pathway to success. It was an exhausting two days packed full of top quality keynote speakers and breakout sessions, interspersed with opportunities to network, share good practice and meet with EdTech suppliers to secure deals for BPCS schools. This was no ‘jolly’ at BPLC expense: I was there to represent TCSC and BPLC whilst also working closely with Naace; there was no financial cost to BPLC at any stage.
Firstly, to vocabulary. I think most BPLC staff are already on board with this, but the new subject of “Computing”, statutory since September 2014, comprises three strands: Computer Science, Information Technology, and Digital Literacy (formerly known as ICT). eSafety should be woven throughout each of these strands. And it’s not all about “coding”. Coding is simply the syntax of writing down instructions in a language that computers will understand, and is a small part of “programming”. Programming is a small part of Computer Science, which is one of the three strands in the subject of Computing. All of this requires us to teach our pupils to think “computationally”, however, there is nonetheless plenty of room for creativity!
Top Tips for Teachers
In no particular order, here is a selection of good ideas; some will make your life easier, others will bring the ‘Wow’ factor to your classroom practice. Remember that ‘Wow’ gimmicks will remain precisely that without well thought through pedagogies to underpin them – that bit is over to you as creative teachers!
- www.ataleunfolds.co.uk for Teaching & Learning efficiencies – schools are needed for free pilot during summer term
- Skype in the Classroom https://education.skype.com/ website has a link to connect you with volunteer authors, industry professionals, and other global activities
- Don’t just search on Google. Use the advanced search tool to filter text-based results by reading level
- There is a wide variety of Augmented Reality apps that can be used for many purposes, including to stimulate writing. See the separate blog post here
- Don’t hide interesting parts of your school buildings! Expose an area of the plumbing (for example – but put Plexiglas in front of it) and mount a QR code on the wall nearby. This could take the pupils to information about plumbing (or whatever else has been exposed). This becomes an even more powerful exercise if the videos and other information about plumbing has been researched and created by the pupils themselves.
- Use google earth to peg actual locations referenced in stories e.g. Odysseus
- Museum of London app http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/explore-online/museum-london-apps/ superimposes old photos on top of contemporary street locations in live time
- PhotoMath is an app that not only solves maths problems in real time, but show the students each step required to solve the problem https://photomath.net/en/
Many of these ideas came from Hall Davidson of Global Learning Initiative, Discovery Education. Other resources of his are available here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1S8-PqPoJBOvWeF34wIMdXee9gZOnFnuuNoA21bp7EKM/mobilebasic?pli=1&hl=en_US
- BBC Enchanted Kingdom resources are free to download here http://www.bbc.com/earth/uk
- Children and young people like making digital things. Check the Nesta report about this here http://www.nesta.org.uk/publications/young-digital-makers for information about what they’re actually making, and at what ages.
- The Echo Chamber Uncut in an online listing of all educational blogs and bloggers https://teachingbattleground.wordpress.com/2015/03/11/introducing-the-echo-chamber-uncut/
- Free to download images and resources:
- Or use Creative Commons searching to find your own: http://photosforclass.com/
- Using apps one at a time is so passé! Appsmashing is where it’s at: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-8ru4WYXDhTTW8xS2JRYnpLRU0/edit
- History of Computing resources from LGfL: https://showcase.lgfl.net/Summary_page/Content/hoc.aspx
- NEN resources available to all schools: http://www.nen.gov.uk/content/
- Cross-curricular Minecraft ideas: http://teachwithict.weebly.com/minecraft-in-education.html#sthash.tgd7Zkmt.dpbs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RshRfotoN90
- 1000 years of European border changes http://www.viralforest.com/watch-1000-years-european-borders-change/
Zapp2Learn is an interactive phonics resources that uses QR codes to link letters with sounds. The app is free to download, and the website http://www.zapp2learn.com/ has videos that demonstrate how the whole package works. Schools are invited to apply for a free trial.
Lego WeDo is a top quality programming resource https://education.lego.com/en-gb/preschool-and-school/lower-primary/7plus-education-wedo that combines programming in Scratch with Design Technology to build working models of machines usually found on building sites, fun fairs and the like. A demonstration has been provisionally booked for the autumn term Computing Coordinators’ meeting, with the possibility of activity afternoons at the DTC and equipment loans for BPLC schools afterwards.
Students from the University of Warwick told us about their experiences as “tech volunteers”, working (under supervision) in local primary schools. They talked enthusiastically about introducing programming almost by stealth, and some of their resources are available to download here: www.go.Warwick.ac.uk/scratchresources
Is this something we could investigate here is Bury? We have two FE colleges who may have students willing to volunteer to run Code Clubs in local primary schools. TCSC is willing to coordinate such collaborations, we just need to establish whether there is interest in such a scheme.
Naace Essential Guides, or “eGuides”
Naace is in the process of writing and publishing a series of publications (paper and digital) freely available to all UK schools, both curriculum based (e.g. graphics, databases) and more widely about data management, cyber security, procurement, network management etc. Drafts of the “Essential Guide to Graphics for Primary Teachers” and the “Essential Guide to Databases for Primary Teachers” have already been given out at relevant TCSC courses at the DTC!
The UK Head of Google Education cited research by The Economist Group that the most desirable workplace skill is problem solving, followed by team working and communication. There is no requirement (from employers) that people are able to memorise by rote. So much for the types of skills measured – and celebrated – in the PISA tests.
Actually, that’s misleading. Whilst some nations do particularly well in memory-based tests so widely reported in the most recent PISA results, elsewhere in the same report, UK students are shown to be leading the pack in problem solving, collaboration and communication.
Google says it is able to support schools in developing these skills in their pupils, with their Chrome books, Google Play for Education (content) and Google Apps for Education – GAFE – which enables smooth and efficient work flow. Chrome books may be worth taking a look at as amongst their features, they boot up far faster than a regular laptop, can be locked in exam mode, and can be set to boot up – and remain in – a specific web page.
Questions are important – encourage children to ask them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1K2jdjLhbo
And a final thought from Google: If teachers are asking pupils questions that can be answered by Google, are they the right questions?
Technology will Save Us http://www.techwillsaveus.com/
Technology Will Save Us aims to develop children as creative problem solvers but combing technology with the outdoor environment.
In both case, Technology Will Save Us keeps in mind Papert’s (1999) “Big Ideas”:
- Learn by doing
- Technology is a building material
- Hard is fun – enjoy being challenged
- Learn to learn
- Take the proper time to do the job properly – easy is not necessarily quick; plan in time for failure along the way, and for learning from it
- You can’t get it right without getting it wrong – failure is an integral part of success
- Do unto ourselves what we do unto our students
- This is a Digital World – deal with it.
Top Tips from Technology Will Save Us:
- Introduce “code saboteurs” to programming lessons: children program their devices (Arduino/Raspberry Pi/Lego WeDo…), then swap with a neighbour. One single change is made – the sabotage – and then the children swap back. They have to work through to find the bug and fix it.
- Computational thinking and problem solving is everywhere, from den building to making a sandwich and oh, so much else. Embrace failure, be prepared to be seen to fail as part of your own learning process, and learn from it.
- Ask questions such as “What have you failed at today? What did you learn from that?”
In this session, Martin Bailey, director of @Animate2Educate and still in class 1 day each week at Lanchester Primary school, showed us a variety of simple apps for animation:
- Zu3D used wwith laptop and webcam. It is ok to have children working in small groups on animation projects, and EYFS toys are robust enough for use as characters and props. Multiple shots can be taken in stop motion animation simply by using a number key. The ‘9’ will take 9 identical shot in one go. This makes the animation more realistic and last longer.
- Sock puppets
- Chatter pix kids draw a straight line on any image and it becomes a mouth for animated speech
- Morfobooth – again, any photo can be animated for speech
- Puppet Pals2 for KS2, “bible buddies” version now available for RE related animations; buying the full version allows children to put themselves in the animation
- Toontastic is now free to download since being bought by Google
Resources used by @Animate2Educate at #Naace15 are here http://www.animate2educate.co.uk/website/naace_conference/92292
Think about the cross-curricular possibilities here. Animation, like web design and so many other areas of Computing, impact right across the primary curriculum.
@eCadets https://www.ecadet.zone/ is a school-based eSafety scheme where children are encouraged to take responsibility for their own eSafety – and that of their peers, teachers and school governors. Originally targeted at KS2, there are also now Mini eCadets (EYFS-KS1) and Senior eCadets (KS3-4).
In all cases, pupils are recruited to be eCadets. There are different stages of accreditation, and the eCadets have to compete tasks to qualify for each – marking and moderation is done by the eCadets office, not by the school.
Teacher accounts are kept up to date with information about emerging SNS and risks they pose to children and young people. Staff CPD at school is also offered as part of the annual subscription.
Bubble is a super-secure SNS platform within eCadets, children can only communicate with children in the same year group, or flag up issues with the eCadets at school.
Resources shared by @eCadets at #Naace15 are here https://ecadets.padlet.org/ecadets/naace
Annual subscription for school with >225 pupils is £500, £250 for smaller schools. Does anyone want to pilot eCadets in their school? Please contact TCSC.
Using Technology to Address Social Challenge
@DanSutch of the Nominet Trust gave a very moving presentation about the positive uses of technology to address social challenge. Examples include:
- Using 3D printers to make prosthetic feet and legs for children injured in conflict http://socialtech.org.uk/projects/e-nable/ Further, Icanmke.co explains how 3D printers work so teachers can explain this to children
- Finger reader for the visually impaired http://socialtech.org.uk/projects/fingerreader/
- Flowy for mental health support, especially anxiety and panic attacks. Helps to control breathing and restore calm http://socialtech.org.uk/projects/flowy/
- Teddy the guardian – a wonderful device that monitors and records vital measurements on sick children http://socialtech.org.uk/projects/teddy-the-guardian/
- History pin overlays Google maps with old images http://socialtech.org.uk/projects/historypin/ to spark cross-generational engagement and conversations
These, and many more examples can be found here http://socialtech.org.uk
The slides used by @DanSutch at #Naace15 are here http://www.slideshare.net/Dannno/naace-strategic-conference-2015-ds