Hour of Code 2015

This year’s Hour of Code week will take place between December 7th and 13th and the Tech Partnership is hoping that organisations around the UK will take part.
The Hour of Code is a self-guided tutorial that anybody can engage with using just a web-browser or smart-phone. No experience is needed, and participants of all ages can choose from a variety of self-guided tutorials.

Why do an Hour of Code?
We are constantly using technology today, but how many of us are learning to build it? The basics help nurture creativity and problem-solving skills. It is hoped that once people see what they create right before their eyes, they will feel empowered to keep learning more.

Why not sign up and have a go, or take some time within classroom sessions to introduce and engage your learners and students with the process.


Hour Of Code UK March 3rd to 9th 2014

Have you signed up for The UK Hour of Code? invite you to Celebrate the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web by doing an Hour of Code with your students.

The UK Hour of Code is a one-hour intro to computer science, designed to demystify code during March 3-9, 2014. Every student will learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, an innovator.

I am hoping to run my celebratory hour of code during an after school enrichment session where my students range from Y6 to Y10.  I am intending to use the tutorials from the site to offer options and different ins for the students.  Perhaps
  • An App project with Microsoft Research's TouchDevelop  for some of my older students
  • The Scratch based Interactive holiday card, though I think I will set the task as a Greeting Card.  
 Though I will offer Lightbot a game that encourages logical sequencing and  simple programming initially through the use of procedures before introducing loops and the Write Your First Program Activity, that is also a game based introduction to programming.

If you haven't done so already, why not check out the site for yourself, sign up and have a go.  The space is a great starting point with ideas for moving "Beyond the Hour," should you and your students get the bug.


Where's Gromit (Geotagging a trail and playing with Google Maps)?

As part of the Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal for Bristol Children's Hospital, Gromit has been Unleashed upon the City and surrounding area in various guises.  Our mission should we choose to accept.... to track him down and.... well.... admire him.....

On the trail we have met scores of people young and old, using without thought a host of mobile technologies and tools, iPads, Tablets, digital cameras.  Personally I have been using a Smart phone, snapping a couple of images and then adding these to a simple photo blog as well as sharing these with Facebook Friends and Twitter Followers .

A while back I began using Quikmaps to geotag images to their locations, Not all of the characters on this trail are as easy to find as they appear on the official trail map,  so in addition to the official map and app here is a link to my "Google Map," where I have begun to add place holders showing the location of and one image for each Gromit Sculpture I have found.  This has promoted a great deal of discussion at home as Google's satellite imagery has not been updated for the area for quite some time, new buildings have gone up and in some parts of the city the landscape has changed beyond recognition.  It has been a challenge identifying some locations but I have really enjoyed the process as well as reminding myself of some of the fun that can be had revisiting and reusing a familiar tool.   


Can I be your friend? ENO Video Trailer

Recently we ran some e safety workshops for students in Key Stages 1 and 2.  This was followed by a MAL for colleagues raising awareness about the wider issues surrounding online lifestyles and Social networking,

One very telling thing was how many of us may think we are immune to the apparent naivety and youthful playfulness if our cares...  The following video a trailer for "Two Boys" by the English National Opera, entitled "Will you be my friend?" raised a few eyebrows when shown.  It is incredibly thought provoking, especially in terms of the normalisation of how we  behave online, the language of social networking and how this is translated if transferred to the real world.  Just pondering how this might translate into a series of activities to use in school, with our older students.

I have no doubt the actions of the character would be greeted as beyond weird and creepy by many of them, though as an exercise in facing the reality of online behaviours it would be interesting to see reactions if the abstracted and remote world of networking socially could be allowed to seep into the real world for a short burst of time.

A creative and cringeworthy moment of ICT Inspiration and 3 minutes well spent...      


Educaplay: Flash and HTML 5 Interactivity creation.

Have you tried Educaplay?  This is a fantastic site where you can create interactive content for use on  your VLE.Blogs and Web Sites for free, simply register, create and share..

Below is an example of what they call an interactive map.  I will be beginning work with Scratch this term with my phase three students  I want them to become familiar with the Interface and where to find unfamiliar items.  This map based quiz will hopefully help consilidate their understanding of where to find things in the program.

We will also need to become familiar with keywords and vocabulary.  So how about a Wordsearch as a starter, before moving on to define and use these terms in learning diaries and such.

Other great tasks available include "word jumbles," "sentence jumbles," "matching" and "crossword" interactivities.

These can be saved in your account space and then embed codes generated for the tasks copied and pasted into html view in you pages or tasks that can be shared with students either in the VLE or through provision of shared shortcuts to specific pages online you have created.

Oh and did I mention that the site is free!

Enjoy..... :o)


PLTS Slideshows

Since September I have been using a set of PowerPoint Templates to help organise, standardise and simplify my lesson planning and organisation.

The templates carry a standard style
  • Unit/Lesson/Challenge Title
  • WALT (We Are Learning To) Overall Lesson Objective 
  • Differentiated WILFs (What I Am Looking Fors), these are leveled and coloured Red, Amber, Green in rubric format to enable a view of progression in learning.
The Slides themselves are laid out differently according to purpose within the lessons, and may change according to subject, but the Title or WALTs are duplicated in order to be visible throughout the lesson.

My title slides include the session WALT and an image from the PLTS posters I created.  The PLTS poster image displayed will be identified according to unit skills focus, and the particular skill focus for a session is highlighted on the image through the addition of an autoshape around it.

Slides to support progression within the lesson and outline tasks are inserted as duplicates where required in the lesson structure, and in some cases printed out for use on the desktops of students as “Success Criteria."

Within each Template show I have also inserted PLTS related slides, that contain the progressions we used to support learning during Integrated curriculum sessions.  These have been placed to support rubric development by deletion.  It is easier to start with all content included initially and delete those elements not required.

Here is an examples shared in Google Docs format to show what I mean.  Any thoughts would be useful and helpful.


Pen's Video Revision

For a while now one of my colleagues has been producing video files to support student revision and publishing these to his own You Tube Channel.

The videos feature modeled examples of working past GCSE papers and questions.  This post is an opportunity to celebrate his work and to encourage visitors to check out the materials he has developed.  Rob's Videos can be found by following this link.  I hope you find them useful.