Scratch

Who better to talk to us about the “Scratch’ coding program and website than the creator himself…

Computer coding for the young and old! An innovative concept and very inspiring speech I thought.

Now, an insight into my own personal experience with Scratch as my next university course EDP4130 coaxes me to explore further the Australian National Curriculum and the prospect of teaching technology within it.

I have to admit to having reservations about exploring the Scratch program but once I started to ‘play around’, as that is exactly how it felt, I began to relax a little. I managed 3 out of the 4 expected course activities and then decided, as my confidence had grown, to explore the program a little further and create something different to the last task that was set. I was inspired!

Below you can see a screen shot of the Etch-A-Sketch game I made in Scratch and its accompanying, distinctive blocks of coloured code that snap together enabling the program to run.

Etch-A-sSketch

Click on the image of Scratch above to play the Etch-A-Sketch game

E-a-S code

There were times I must admit to feelings of frustration while working within the Scratch program and I did utilise a fair bit of ‘trial and error’ on my creative journey. However, sweet success and a sense of achievement was mine to be had at the end.

So, where exactly might a program like Scratch fit into the national curriculum documents I ask myself? It seems that the answer to that question would be for Year 5 and 6 children under the Design and Implementing strands of the Scope and Sequence for Digital Technologies 6.5, 6.6 and 6.7.

In regard to instructing children in the classroom to code. Am I ready? Let’s just say I will be definitely needing a bit more practice in this particular area of technology and that the children in Year 5, at this moment in time, could probably teach me a thing or two about coding! However, whoever said there was anything wrong in learning together? As a prospect for an aspiring teacher it’s one I actually look forward to.

ladybug.scratch

This little ladybug animation swirls and bounces from one edge of the screen to the other and was very simple and fun to create using the Scratch program. Are you tempted to create a Scratch animation? If I can do it so can you…

Astronauts inspiring children using social media from space

Awesome…
There really is no other word to describe the communication that has been happening recently between people here on Earth and those incredible men and women living and working 410 kilometres above us on the International Space Station. Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian astronaut to walk in space, has become an inspiration for both the young and old alike thanks to his clever use of social media while living and working aboard the International Space Station. He has a Twitter following (at the last count) of 999, 095 followers many of them signing up it would seem during his very recent 146 day command of the ISS.

Hadfield has, in-between conducting his scientific work on board the ISS, found the time to share amazing images of Earth from space, taken time out to answer the many hundreds of questions directed his way about his work and life on the ISS and even made a YouTube video in which he sings a cover version of David Bowies 1969 Space Oddity (of which I could not resist in sharing with you below).

On an educational note the following clip shows Hadfield taking part in an extra-terrestrial question and answer session from on board the ISS with the children at a school in his hometown of Milton, Ontario, USA.

For fun…

Chris back down to Earth…

Give a Gonski

It is my firm belief that the education of children should be in the forefront of everyone’s mind. It may be a cliché but there really is no doubt about it, children are our future.

Commissioned by the Federal Government ‘The Gonski Review’ was a comprehensive investigation of the way schools are funded in Australia. The final report released in February 2012 found that Australia is investing far too little in education and, in particular, in public schools. As a result students all over Australia are missing out on the all important resources they need.

The Gonski report recommends an incredible $5 billion a year injection of funding into both public and private schools and an overhaul as to how and where the funding be spent in the aim of making the biggest impact to teaching and learning experiences for children.

Want to know more or join the ‘I give a Gonski’ campaign with thousands of others who want better schools for all children in Australia? Follow the link here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shane Coyczan ‘To this day’… for the bullied and beautiful

I was really pleased to see that fellow student Shannon D had blogged about the Shane Coyczan TED  ‘To this day’ video clip. It really made an impression on me and I have been back and watched it several times.

A book should never be judged by it’s cover and this guy epitomises the very reason why. His story is heartfelt, humorous, sad at times and very moving. Shane Coyczan is an amazing poet. This YouTube clip is a must watch. Enjoy…

If you liked this clip take a look at TED on YouTube where you will find inspirational talks on many different topics from speakers from all over the world.

International Space Station Overhead

For those of you who have been kind enough to spend a little time exploring my blog you will know I have been waiting for a rather special email from the International Space Station

IT CAME THIS MORNING!

Here it is…

I am hoping to be able to locate it especially as it will be visible in the sky for less than one minute. Wish me and all the other International Space Station gazers good luck.

For those who missed my post on the International Space Station last time check out this very cool link that tracks it here. A great site and visual learning tool for those teaching about Earth and Space Sciences.

If you would like to sign up for an email from the ISS to tell you when it is overhead you can do it here at ‘Spot the Station.’

Digital Citizenship

Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship

This week in EDC3100 I chose, along with Teresa Morgan and Jennifer Walsh, to explore the concept of Digital Citizenship.

Digital citizenship is a concept that is applicable to society as a whole.

The nine elements of digital citizenship as seen below are guidelines intended to promote the responsible and appropriate use of technology.

Digital Access: The principle that all people should have equal access to digital technology in order to become more productive citizens

Digital Commerce: The recognition of the internet as an efficient way to exchange goods and services both legal and illegal, and the raising of awareness of what is and is not considered an acceptable exchange in the digital economy  

Digital Communication: The ability to effectively individualise and manage the profusion of digital communications available so that it has the minimum impact on the priorities of everyday life

Digital Literacy: As technology plays an increasing role in the workplace it is crucial that society builds up digital literacy. As new technologies emerge it is important they are learned and used effectively

Digital Etiquette: Refers to the principles of an electronic code of conduct and the education of one another in regards to appropriate online communications 

Digital Law: Surrounds an awareness of the legal ramifications of unethical online behaviour e.g. illegally downloading music, creating viruses and hacking information that belongs to others

Digital Rights and Responsibilities: Digital citizens have certain rights e.g. the right to free speech however they must be aware that rights come with responsibility

Digital Health and Wellness: Technology comes with certain inherent health risks. Digital citizens need to be educated how to use technology both safely and productively  

Digital Security: Surrounds the installation of firewalls and anti-virus software on digital hardware in order to safeguard against the ill intentions of others

I found the topic of Digital Citizenship to be well resourced online for varying age groups by way of interactive books and web sites.

During my research I came across this very user friendly and comprehensive website published by the NSW Education & Communities Department that provides essential information and an interactive pathway for students, teachers and parents about digital citizenship and being safe, positive and responsible online.

This primary school setting had a lot of fun learning how to be ‘cyber safe’ take a look for yourself here

References:

New South Wales Government (n.d.). Digital citizenship. Retrieved from http://www.digitalcitizenship.nsw.edu.au/

Ribble, M. (2013). Digital citizenship: using technology appropriately. Retrieved from http://digitalcitizenship.net/Nine_Elements.html

Universal Design for Learning

The learning path for EDC3100 this week has led me, along with fellow student Michelle Poulter, to research the Universal Design for Learning framework (UDL). Initially I searched Google for some overarching information on the framework, I then decided to explore Education Queensland’s Learning Place web site as a reliable source of information (I have membership as I am employed by EQ as a Special Education Teacher Aide).

The UDL framework surrounds three principles which provide guidance for teachers aiming to create and implement flexible learning environments and materials that accommodate difference and diversity.

The three principles are as follows:

Multiple means of representation: Providing learners with various ways to acquire knowledge and information

Multiple means of expression: Providing learners with alternatives to demonstrate what they know, and what and how they think

Multiple means of engagement: Providing learners with appropriate means of engaging and interacting with the learning environment

The following link will take you to a Queensland Government presentation by Jeff Souter who speaks about and provides examples that demonstrate how student learning can be  maximised when ICT’s are integrated into the Universal Design for Learning framework.

References:

Universal Design for Learning [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved 01 May, 2013 from http://www.udlcenter.org/

Souter, J. (2009). Universal Design for Learning: Using ICT to maximise learning for all students. Queensland Government. Retrieved from http://mediasite.eq.edu.au/mediasite/Play/44da3e51-b699-4aaf-8c52-dbda7ab544a3

Technology Integration Planning Model (TIP)

The TIP (Technology Integration Planning Model) is yet another framework that aims to assist teachers (especially those new to technology) to ‘integrate’ ICTs into their teaching and learning experiences for children. TIP seems to be the hot topic for this week and several of my fellow students have blogged about it already. Thanks Leah and Kelly for your insightful TIP posts.

So here are my efforts towards a quick rundown of the five phases of TIP based on my understanding so far,

Phase 1: Relative Advantage – Is a technology based solution the best way for students to address the problem that has been set?

Phase 2: Objectives and Assessment – Is a technology based assessment the best way for students to achieve success?

Phase 3: Integration Strategies – Do teaching activities that incorporate technology ‘enhance’ student learning?

Phase 4: Instructional Environment – Where will the planned activity take place? What technology is the best fit for both the activity and the environment?

Phase 5: Evaluation and Revision – Were the planned activities successful? Did the students meet the desired outcomes? What could be improved next time?

A concise overview and visual adaptation of the TIP framework can be found here at Mark Wheadon’s WordPress blog.

I like the TIP model, it makes sense and feels achievable. With teaching prac looming it’s time to put TIP to the test… Lesson planning, implementation and reflection here I come…

Reference:

Wheadon, M. (2011,September 26). The Technology Integration Model [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://blendingict.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/the-technology-integration-planning-model/

The slow death of handwriting

I have spent such a lot of time on my computer over the last couple of months that when I came to pick up a pen to write a big shopping list this weekend the pen felt very strange in my hand. I can’t honestly remember the last time I even wrote a simple note! I was really quite surprised that I found that I enjoyed the sensation of the pen rolling over the paper as I listed the things that I needed. With this in mind I did a little research and came across an interesting BBC newspaper ‘UK Magazine’ article which asks, ‘Is the ancient art of handwriting dying out?’ I so hope not. How do you feel about the possibility that in maybe a century from now, our handwriting may only be legible to experts?

Interested to read more? Access the article I found here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7907888.stm