Sunday, 22 April 2018

Piece of history - mindkits moa

During the last weeks of Term One, I received a notification from mindkits that I needed to check out something. Something big was coming, http://mindkits.co.nz/moa. Being able to print off a scanned moa bone.



I have been talking to Tim for a number of years now and he was telling me some years ago that he had been able to scan a moa bone and was trying out an idea. It sounded interesting, but he wasn't allowed to share the files back then.


Little did I know that he was looking at it on this scale. He has so many boxes sitting at home with USB sticks in them with the files waiting for teachers to register so they can print there own bones.
This is incredible and allows teachers to have the deep conversations with students about the moa, extinction and history, all with a developed digital outcome.

I had been waiting for the courier package to arrive with the box and USB inside of it. However, a tweet kind of told me that this wouldn't be happening until after the holidays. Contact was made and I was on my way to pick up the box.


Little did I know that 102 hours of printing was needed for this to be developed. 5 parts of the leg would have to printed and then glued together. I knew I had limited days to do this before heading off to a conference where I wanted to be wandering around with this bone, a conversation starter, a way to energise people into the conversation.

The entire project has been printed on an Ultimaker 2+ printer using white PLA.

 


It has proven to be a popular thread on twitter as I take photos throughout the print, it is also part of the competition, to tweet @mindkits with a photo and part of the story of how you are going, I added #mindkitsmoa so I could go back and find photos of the work for this blogpost.

It has been good to go through and have opportunities over the holiday break to try new projects, this one has been something to remember.

The final print glued together.

Thank you Tim(@mindkits) and Fay(@mindkitself) for this wonderful project.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Unpacking reporting in Digital Technologies

These are my thoughts... This is just some thinking I have been doing about the situation. I am thinking of not reporting the Progress Outcomes this semester as I need some more thinking and understanding of this issue and guidance from others about this.

I have been in meetings where there have been no decisions, no understanding of reporting in schools, I have been reading the comments and thinking about ways to be able to create a suitable idea on how to do this, even started reading some posts about reports and what it means for parents and whanau, what are the expectations for boards and ERO. 

Reading this helped me to unpack the situation that is happening in Science, and it helped me to understanding what tools English and Mathematics have to support there judgements, http://nzscienceteacher.co.nz/assessment/does-ero-expect-science-achievement-to-be-reported-by-curriculum-levels/

I then unpacked this.


The board of trustees scrutinises the work of the school in achieving valued student outcomes

The activities of the board of trustees have an explicit and relentless focus on student learning, wellbeing, achievement and progress. 
Board of trustees members seek and interrogate a range of high quality student data and evaluative information that supports:
- rigorous, honest monitoring of progress and evaluation of effectiveness in improving student outcomes.

My thinking, ask the board of trustees what they want to see? Show them the new curriculum, outline the new progress outcomes and examplers, do the same activity that has been suggested here with teachers and staff rooms, and have them match the progress outcomes and exemplars. Can they unpack the NAME, BPA, DPA, Curriculum Levels, N1, N2, A3, A4, M5, M6, E7 and E8. 

A proposed statement? 

How would the *INSERT NAME HERE* Board of Trustees like to see the valued student outcomes in relation to student learning, wellbeing, achievement and progress reported for the new strands in Digital Technologies?
These are not based upon Curriculum levels, they are Progress Outcomes, they are not aligned to year levels or ages.

Computational Thinking

The progress outcomes describe the significant learning steps that students take as they develop their expertise in computational thinking for digital technologies.
The diagram below shows the alignment between levels 1–5 of The New Zealand Curriculum and the progress outcomes for computational thinking. The uneven spacing of the progress outcomes reflects the different learning and time required for each outcome and is based on data collected during the development of the digital learning progressions.
Progress outcomes 6–8 set out the learning expected for students engaging in more intensive and specialised digital technologies programmes for NCEA 1, 2 and 3. For this reason, they are directly aligned with levels 6–8 of the curriculum.

Progress outcome 1

  • In authentic contexts and taking account of end-users, students use their decomposition skills to break down simple non-computerised tasks into precise, unambiguous, step-by-step instructions (algorithmic thinking).
  • Students give these instructions, identify any errors in them as they are followed, and correct them (simple debugging).

Progress outcome 2

  • In authentic contexts and taking account of end-users, students give, follow and debug simple algorithms in computerised and non-computerised contexts.
  • Students use these algorithms to create simple programs involving outputs and sequencing (putting instructions one after the other) in age-appropriate programming environments.

Progress outcome 3

  • In authentic contexts and taking account of end-users, students decompose problems into step-by-step instructions to create algorithms for computer programs.
  • Students use logical thinking to predict the behaviour of the programs, and they understand that there can be more than one algorithm for the same problem.
  • Students develop and debug simple programs that use inputs, outputs, sequence and iteration (repeating part of the algorithm with a loop).
  • Students understand that digital devices store data using just two states represented by binary digits (bits).

Progress outcome 4

  • In authentic contexts and taking account of end-users, students decompose problems to create simple algorithms using the three building blocks of programing: sequence, selection, and iteration.
  • Students implement these algorithms by creating programs that use inputs, outputs, sequence, basic selection using comparative operators, and iteration.
  • Students debug simple algorithms and programs by identifying when things go wrong with their instructions and correcting them, and they are able to explain why things went wrong and how they fixed them.
  • Students understand that digital devices represent data with binary digits and have ways of detecting errors in data storage and transmission.
  • Students evaluate the efficiency of algorithms, recognising that computers need to search and sort large amounts of data.
  • Students can evaluate user interfaces in relation to their efficiency and usability.

Progress outcome 5

  • In authentic contexts and taking account of end-users, students independently decompose problems into algorithms.
  • Students use these algorithms to create programs with inputs, outputs, sequence, selection using comparative and logical operators and variables of different data types, and iteration.
  • Students determine when to use different types of control structures.
  • Students document their programs, using an organised approach for testing and debugging.
  • Students understand how computers store more complex types of data using binary digits, and they develop programs considering human-computer interaction (HCI) heuristics.

Progress outcome 6

  • In authentic contexts and taking account of end-users, students determine and compare the “cost” (computational complexity) of two iterative algorithms for the same problem size.
  • Students understand the concept of compression coding for different media types, its typical uses, and how it enables widely used technologies to function.
  • Students use an iterative process to design, develop, document and test basic computer programs.
  • Students can apply design principles and usability heuristics to their own designs and evaluate user interfaces in terms of them.

Progress outcome 7

  • In authentic contexts and taking account of end-users, students analyse concepts in digital technologies (for example, information systems, encryption, error control, complexity and tractability, autonomous control) by explaining the relevant mechanisms that underpin them, how they are used in real world applications, and the key problems or issues related to them.
  • Students discuss the purpose of a selection of data structures and evaluate their use in terms of trade-offs between performance and storage requirements and their suitability for different algorithms.
  • Students can use an iterative process to design, develop, document and test advanced computer programs.

Progress outcome 8

  • In authentic contexts and taking account of end-users, students evaluate concepts in digital technologies (for example, formal languages, network communication protocols, artificial intelligence, graphics and visual computing, big data, social algorithms) in relation to how key mechanisms underpin them and how they are applied in different scenarios when developing real world applications.
  • Students understand accepted software engineering methodologies and user experience design processes and apply their key concepts to design, develop, document and test complex computer programs.

Designing and Developing Digital Outcomes

The progress outcomes describe the significant learning steps that students take as they develop their expertise in designing and developing digital outcomes.
The diagram below shows the alignment between levels 1–5 of the New Zealand Curriculum and the progress outcomes for designing and developing digital outcomes. The uneven spacing of the progress outcomes reflects the different learning and time required for each outcome and is based on data collected during the development of the digital learning progressions.
Progress outcomes 4–6 set out the learning expected for students engaging in more intensive and specialised digital technologies programmes for NCEA 1, 2 and 3. For this reason, they are directly aligned with levels 6–8 of the curriculum.

Progress outcome 1

  • In authentic contexts and taking account of end-users, students participate in teacher-led activities to develop, manipulate, store, retrieve and share digital content in order to meet technological challenges. In doing so, students identify digital devices and their purposes and understand that humans make them.
  • Students know how to use some applications, they can identify the inputs and outputs of a system, and they understand that digital devices store content, which can be retrieved later.

Progress outcome 2

  • In authentic contexts and taking account of end-users, students make decisions about creating, manipulating, storing, retrieving, sharing and testing digital content for a specific purpose, given particular parameters, tools, and techniques.
  • Students understand that digital devices impact on humans and society and that both the devices and their impact change over time.
  • Students identify the specific role of components in a simple input-process-output system and how they work together, and they recognise the "control role” that humans have in the system.
  • Students can select from an increasing range of applications and file types to develop outcomes for particular purposes.

Progress outcome 3

  • In authentic contexts, students follow a defined process to design, develop, store, test and evaluate digital content to address given contexts or issues, taking into account immediate social, ethical and end-user considerations.
  • Students identify the key features of selected software and choose the most appropriate software and file types to develop and combine digital content.
  • Students understand the role of operating systems in managing digital devices, security, and application software and are able to apply file management conventions using a range of storage devices.
  • Students understand that with storing data comes responsibility for ensuring security and privacy.

Progress outcome 4

  • In authentic contexts, students investigate and consider possible solutions for a given context or issue. With support, they use an iterative process to design, develop, store and test digital outcomes, identifying and evaluating relevant social, ethical and end-user considerations.
  • Students can use information from testing and apply appropriate tools, techniques, procedures and protocols to improve the quality of the outcomes and to ensure they are fit-for-purpose and meet end-user requirements.

Progress outcome 5

  • In authentic contexts and with support, students investigate a specialised digital technologies area (for example, digital media, digital information, electronic environments, user experience design, digital systems) and propose possible solutions to issues they identify.
  • Students independently apply an iterative process to design, develop, store and test digital outcomes that enable their solutions, identifying, evaluating, prioritising and responding to relevant social, ethical and end-user considerations.
  • Students can use information from testing and, with increasing confidence, optimise tools, techniques, procedures and protocols to improve the quality of the outcomes.
  • They apply evaluative processes to ensure the outcomes are fit-for-purpose and meet end-user requirements.

Progress outcome 6

  • In authentic contexts, students independently investigate a specialised digital technologies area and propose possible solutions to issues they identify.
  • Students work independently or within collaborative, cross-functional teams to apply an iterative development process to plan, design, develop, test and create quality, fit-for-purpose digital outcomes that enable their solutions, synthesising relevant social, ethical and end-user considerations as they develop digital content.
  • Students integrate in the outcomes they develop specialised knowledge of digital applications and systems from a range of areas, including: network architecture; complex electronics environments and embedded systems; interrelated computing devices, hardware and applications; digital information systems; user experience design; complex management of digital information; and creative digital media.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Technology Scholarship 3%?

Over the past number of years, I have been looking at the Scholarship numbers and percentage and have been asking myself a question, why does Technology Scholarship seem to be always below the 3% that other scholarship subjects are.

Here is the Technology Scholarship data for the past 7 years.

Scholarship SubjectCohort% Cohort
Awarded Scholarship
(including Outstanding)
Scholarship
(excluding Outstanding)
Outstanding
2017Technology39791.735910
2016Technology38981.645410
2015Technology39901.43525
2014Technology36501.56%498
2013Technology15023405
2012Technology18682.94487
2011Technology17712.26%355
2010Technology15383406
ScholarshipOutstanding Scholarship
Mark RangeNo. of CandidatesMark RangeNo. of Candidates
2017Technology13-185919-2410
2016Technology13-185419-2410
2015Technology13–195220–245
2014Technology13-184919-248
2013Technology12-194020-245
2012Technology14-194820-247
2011Technology14-193520-245
2010Technology14-214022-246
If you are wondering why I am pulling this data together it is to start the challenge and fight for the last part of the Digital Technologies curriculum puzzle,

It is since the changes in 2014 when the strands of Technology came into being. Before that, it was just the Generic Technologies standards. Since the strands of Technology came in, including Digital Technologies that is why the number increased from 1500 to now almost 4000 students. 

But have things gotten better with this...
The numbers say it all. From being 3% of the cohort to get Scholarship, we are now getting 1.5 to 1.7%. 

Funnily enough the NZQA scholarship results website states 
"The Technical Overview Group Assessment applies discretion in the setting of cut scores: The 3 percent criterion is applied with discretion of plus or minus 5 students. Cut scores are set such that all students at or above the cut score have demonstrated performance at the Scholarship standard.

*Note: There are reasons why the percentage of the Level 3 cohort achieving Scholarship is significantly higher for Latin than for other subjects:
  • Latin has a very small Level 3 cohort. The large proportion of the cohort awarded Scholarship reflects this.
  • Up to five candidates in addition to 3% of the Level 3 cohort can receive Scholarship in each subject. Because Latin is undertaken by a very small number of candidates and has a very small Level 3 cohort, this discretionary flexibility resulted in a high percentage of the Level 3 cohort receiving awards."
http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/qualifications-standards/awards/new-zealand-scholarship/scholarship-results/overall-2017/#subject

But hang on, do I read correctly, "The 3 percent criterion is applied with the discretion of plus or minus 5 students." 
We have a 1.73% this year, no mention of why Technology has a lower percentage, even going back to previous years results, no mention of why it is lower than 3% criterion.

So I went back to 2016 in the data.
It seems that 173 students entered scholarship, 54 were awarded Scholarship and 10 were awarded Outstanding.

64 students were awarded scholarship. here is hoping my maths is right.
64 / 3898 *100 = 1.64%

Now to get the 3% cut off, 117 students would need to be awarded scholarship. That would mean that out of the 173 students did scholarship 56 would not be awarded. 
So maybe it is because there are not enough numbers entered.

However, I started checking out other areas of scholarship,
going with the same data from 2016
I looked at Photography
2016Photography30042.96809
Photography had 284 entries in 2016
Ok, so they had an extra 101 entries above what Technology had, but they made 2.96% of the 3% criterion.
How for the past 4 years have we gotten less than 2%. Surely there is something wrong with the current system.

My question is, who sets the Technology Scholarship Assessment Specification, is it NZQA or is it the Ministry of Education. If it hasn't been meeting the requirements for 4 years now, what can be done to support the lifting of achievement for our students?

Is there PLD provided, to be able to support teachers/students to be able to reach the 3% criterion?

Why is there not a mention on the scholarship results webpage why Technology Scholarships do not meet the 3% criterion? Being able to provide a reason? 

Is there a possibility of providing what schools have obtained scholarships in technology for the past 4 years?

UPDATE:
Who sets the Technology Scholarship Assessment Specification?

The NZ Scholarship Technology Scholarship Assessment Specification is set annually by NZQA, in consultation with the Panel Leader.

If it hasn’t been meeting the 3% criterion requirement for 4 years now, what can be done to support the lifting of achievement for our students? 

The annual Scholarship Assessment Reports comprehensively describe the characteristics of successful and unsuccessful scholarship submissions. I have attached a copy of the 2016 Assessment Report available on our website. The 2017 Assessment Report will be available for teachers and students at the beginning of term 2. In addition, where possible, we publish annotated exemplars which teachers and students can use.


Is there PLD provided, to be able to support teachers/students to be able to reach the 3% criterion?

NZQA is not resourced to provide PLD to support teachers and students. PLD is generally organised through school clusters and subject associations.

Why is there no mention on the scholarship results webpage why Technology Scholarships do not meet the 3% criterion? It would help being able to provide a reason? 

"The Technical Overview Group Assessment applies discretion in the setting of cut scores: The 3 percent criterion is applied with discretion of plus or minus 5 students. Cut scores are set such that all students at or above the cut score have demonstrated performance at the Scholarship standard."

Candidates entered for New Zealand Scholarship Technology must meet the Scholarship Performance Standard (93601). They are assessed on their ability to demonstrate high-level critical thinking, abstraction and generalisation, and to integrate, synthesise and apply knowledge, skills, understanding and ideas to complex situations. (http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/qualifications-standards/awards/new-zealand-scholarship/)

Candidates who have met the criteria given below can be considered for Scholarship or Outstanding:

Scholarship Performance Descriptor

The student will demonstrate aspects of high level:
·         analysis and critical thinking
·         integration, synthesis, and application of highly developed knowledge, skills, and understanding to complex situations
·         logical development, precision and clarity of ideas.

Outstanding Performance Descriptor

In addition to the requirements for Scholarship, the student will also demonstrate, in a sustained manner, aspects of:
·         perception and insight
·         sophisticated integration and abstraction
·         independent reflection and extrapolation
·         convincing communication.

Technology Scholarships to date have not met the 3% criterion because less than 3% of  the entries have demonstrated performance at the Scholarship standard i.e candidates have not gained a minimum score of 13 out of a total of 24 marks available (Scholarship) or a minimum of 19 out of the total marks available (Outstanding). 

The decrease in the percentage of candidates who have been awarded Scholarships in Technology since 2013 is consistent with the increase in the cohort numbers.

I have been going through the numbers that NZQA have provided.


While we are a new contender to the Technology Scholarship, I would think after 4 years that there would be better stats to help encourage teachers. 

What I am thinking about at the moment is... This goes to show that the current technology scholarship is not meeting the digital technologies area and that a separate scholarship needs to be created to handle this. 

I am currently writing a response back.

Out of the 104 entries for digital technologies, only 23% of the students were awarded a scholarship. While I have read through all the material that has been provided, is there going to be guidance from the panel on how this could be improved for digital with such a poor percentage awarded. There seems to be way better opportunity for Textiles and Food to be awarded scholarship,

What should the equitable return theoretically be?

Sounds like a good one for my Spiral of Inquiry
Getting to know technology scholarship and what this means for students this year. How can I improve in the way that I teach/feedback/feedforward students towards technology scholarship.