Tuesday, 26 July 2016

on a downer

Having a discussion with some of the staff yesterday, they felt sick, and down. Something that I was feeling. It took a bit of talking and thinking about what was happening and agreement, it was sense of loss. Not having that block 2 planning meeting with the co-teacher felt rather strange yesterday.

The loss of working with your co-teacher. It seems to be something that some of us who have done more than one year felt. You have developed an understanding of how you work in class, develop your students, planning and reflection.

Even though we have done some planning and talked about what the concept and context is for the semester, you still haven't been in the same room as them with the students. How will your teaching styles align, the ideas that you come up with develop over the nine weeks.

Having gone through the first blocks yesterday, it is no longer a sense of the unknown, it is now something that I look forward to and developing over the next semester, getting to know what the drama area holds and how we can develop students appreciation of technology and drama through the context of digital citizenship.

One of the best things yesterday was the use of a song at the start of the drama piece from Chatroom, 

Considering I used the same song last year for a computer science concept SPIN. I look forward to looking at the characteristics of technology in this module and how we are using technology and what the social, physical and environmental impact are.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Prototyping on Paper - digital technologies - foundation years

One thing that I have normally struggled with in the Technology process has been the idea of conceptual development and prototyping.

As part of module, we co-teach. For this I was teamed up with a PE teacher. Our secondary students had to plan and teach a module down at the primary school, develop skills within a sport. So out of the three blocks for the week, one was around planning for the time with the primary students. Teaching the primary students, seeking feedback from the students in their learning space, then going to the portal (library space) to do reflection. Using the third block to do the technology design and modelling using the ideas that they had been doing on monday. 

Developing our Learning Objective of To Test design idea through prototyping or modelling. 
Normally I have done this through programming or developing a series of images through the computer. However, students normally update the files and you lose the great work on how they stepped up or made changes. 

The Rubric that we used, level 4 -6

One of the pieces of software that I used to help develop an app idea was POP, prototyping on paper. 

The app allows you to draw you ideas, take a photo of it and then allow the user to create clickable spots to be able to show workflow. 
Students could take photos using there device and then do the clickable areas on their computer. 

Students then take what they have created and test it with a bunch of users. In this case it was students from our primary school. Feedback was sought and then incorporated into the development.

The following are examples of some of the ideas that students came up with

Getting a student doing paper prototypes had them talking, collaborating, seeking feedback for an hour and a half, they want to continue developing prototypes, developing the functional reasoning behind their design, as well at the practical reasoning. Using http://popapp.in

What this helped them do was move towards Level 5 and 6 of the curriculum.

Digital Technologies Announcement and Industry

On Tuesday at the NZTech conference, an announcement in what we have been waiting over 7 months was made. Through the Curious Minds review of the positioning of Digital Technologies in the New Zealand curriculum, it was announced that Digital Technologies would be a part of the Technology Learning Area.

This has not played well for industry who have made numerous comments and press releases since the announcement calling for a rethink. The call has been made for Digital technologies to be a seperate learning area.

As a teacher I have thought about this for a long time, since starting teaching 14 years ago with the positioning of where the area was and have thought about it over the time. The move from computing unit standards in 2011 to achievement standards has helped develop the nature of the subject. The more important focus for me is the ideas and future of the industry.

Some things that have made an impact for me and I would like to see more of, education can only move so far and so fast...

Industry can support the development of the community, culture and development of the subject within the communities. Everyone is trying to be the next technological area outside of the states. I often read about the IT Business parks that are being created in cities and in towns. These are the future workplaces of our students.

I often hear about the academic requirements of a subject, yet, the constant call is for the soft skills, the communication, working in teams, thinking, collaboration. Many of the academic subjects work in isolation from each other. Where we want to grow the soft skills.

Developing a scholarship for ours students that is outside NZQA Scholarship would help. While there are the awards for outstanding scholarship and top scholar that provide an incentive, I would love to see the data on how many technology students get one or more scholarships?

Single Subject Awards
  • For Candidates who achieve Scholarship in one or two subjects in the same year.
  • A ‘one-off’ award of $500 per subject (maximum payment $1000).
It is the single subject scholarships that I would like to see industry help to develop. Looking at building a panel to award 20 scholarships a year, an opportunity to work in a company for the summer break. These will provide valuable experiences to our learners. We need different types of incentives. Yes, there should be through government, but I realise that this would take time.

How about the companies that complain and take out full size ads in the New Zealand media... while I agree that they want to see change, could be putting this towards developing opportunites and spreading the word. 

It is dangerous to develop a curriculum that is developed for one particular group. When I look at what exists already through companies are:

One great opportunity that existed was the Orion Health codeworx competition. This helped get technology out to schools and to develop ideas on how a raspberry pi could be used. This also helped get students into the company, what a opportunity. This competition was ended in 2015.
Brightsparks provides opportunities to develop projects that around the concepts of Science, Environment, Software and Engineering.
Microsoft have the Imagine cup which looks at students across all disciplines to team up and use their creativity, passion and knowledge of technology to create applications, games and integrate solutions that can change the way we live, work and play.

The scholarship would need to consider aspects of what exists already and what is wanted from our future developers and industry leaders.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Topics of computer science for junior students using pokemon go as a context.

As some of you will ever aware, Pokemon go was released on Wednesday night and some students will have been walking the school grounds hoping to catch a couple of Pokemon during the school day.

I pose some starter questions here in so that they could be used to develop some deeper understanding for students.

Video of what pokemon go is all about - http://www.pokemon.com/us/pokemon-video-games/pokemon-go/

Great to think of the topics of computer vision through augmented reality. Though I have been challenged on this, I would like to change what could be looked at, why is that computer vision could not be used to help support the development of this game.

You’ll frequently find Pokémon floating superimposed into walls or other objects in a way that doesn’t make sense, with their scale totally misrepresented against a backdrop that doesn’t suit their size at all. When you walk toward the Pokémon they’ll simply slide along the ground at a fixed distance from you, passing through whatever real world obstacles might be in their way. Students could take about the ideas of this, imagine a pokemon that could hide behind a tree?

As well as developing a traveling salesman problem with visiting pokestops (http://m.au.ign.com/wikis/pokemon-go/PokeStops) as well as having to visit gyms once they are level 5 to battle. This supports the ideas of tractability, getting students to figure out the best route to visit the most pokestops to be able to get the backpacker medal. (http://www.csfieldguide.org.nz/en/chapters/complexity-tractability.html)

Also the discussion of types of phones, the Pokemon go app will not work on an android phone if it has an Intel processor.

Managing data through 3G/4G. How much data does the app go through in a session. Depending on how long your session is.

The common question for some students maybe, why will it install on a smart phone but I cannot play it on my computer? It's a game?

Also talking to students about why released in Australia and New Zealand first before releasing to the American market a day or two later?

This also gets them to understand why they will get the most annoying screen at the moment, "we are experiencing issues with our servers"

Getting students to share their wins through photos, why is it important to share the capture of a wild Pokemon while sitting in your bathroom? Digital citizenship topic maybe?

Monday, 4 July 2016

Computational Thinking - csta

Computational thinking (CT) is a problem-solving process that includes (but is not limited to) the following characteristics:
• Formulating problems in a way that enables us to use a computer and other tools to help solve them.
• Logically organizing and analyzing data
• Representing data through abstractions such as models and simulations
• Automating solutions through algorithmic thinking (a series of ordered steps)
• Identifying, analyzing, and implementing possible solutions with the goal of achieving the most efficient and effective combination of steps and resources
• Generalizing and transferring this problem solving process to a wide variety of problems

These skills are supported and enhanced by a number of dispositions or attitudes that are essential dimensions of CT. These dispositions or attitudes include:
• Confidence in dealing with complexity
• Persistence in working with difficult problems
• Tolerance for ambiguity
• The ability to deal with open ended problems
• The ability to communicate and work with others to achieve a common goal or solution