It has been a productive few days for me. I have just uploaded another computational thinking resource, this time a PO4 resource, called Make My Money! This is a Makey Makey based activity, linked to Scratch. The aim of the activity is for older students to create a learning resource for younger students to help them learn about making different monetary values from coins. So the maths required in order to do the task is easy for the students doing the coding, but the coding required to make the resource is far from straight forward, indeed it is a PO4 activity, because the successful outcome requires the use of outputs, iteration, variables and comparative operators, several of them. I am looking forward to trialing this one too. In the pipeline is a Te Reo vocabulary coding activity, I am just waiting on having my Te Reo checked before I go live with this one, watch this space for more on that.
I have been working with several groups of students in a couple of schools on separate PLD Numeracy contracts recently, on the same problem, the students have very weak understanding of their basic facts of number and how they are inter-related, their bonds. As a result of this, I decided that a way that the students could build their capacity and their understanding would be to create a game that tested a user on the concept I wanted the students themselves to learn. After all the best way to learn is to teach. So I have created this number bonds resource, that leads into creating a game in Scratch. I have yet to trial it, but it was fun to make.
In preparation for Matariki, I have been working on a resource for students to build a Star Dome in their classrooms from recycled cardboard and then populate the ceiling of their Star Dome with the constellations of the southern skies with LEDs controlled via a simple parallel circuit with resistors and a cardboard switch in it, all connected with copper tape.
I am looking forward to testing this resource in several schools in term 2. The LEDS and resistors have been ordered and are currently inbound from China. Just need to go dumpster diving now for the large cardboard boxes we will need to make the 12 equilateral triangles needed for each Star Dome.
We have just launched our third Merge Cube tutorial onto You Tube. In this tutorial we show you how to import images from your computer onto the stage and how to add this to the cube. We then embark on creating a simple animation of an object in Merge Cube, using the CoSpaces coding blocks. These first three tutorials will give the average user enough information and skills to allow them to start to build and code their own Merge Cube environments.
We have started to collaborate with others on creating resources for teachers to use, utilising Merge Cube’s AR features. In one school we are creating an integrated literacy resource based around the novel The London Eye Mystery, where the students will have to create 6 key scenes from the novel as scenes on the Merge Cube and they will then have to animate these scenes, add audio voice overs for the characters and finally write a narrators script for the video they will create in the CoSpaces app when their models are complete. Watch this space for the resource once it is complete.
Also in production is the creation of a Merge Cube resource that will allow students to look at opposing views of the same event. 2019 marks the 250th anniversary of Captain James Cook’s landing in New Zealand and the clash of cultures that sparked. We are creating a Merge Cube resource that will allow students to investigate and share their understandings of how both sides of this encounter may have thought and reacted on that historic day, again watch this space for more information on that resource.
I have spent the last week or so creating a couple of tutorials to support teachers through the CoSpaces/Merge Cube interface. Today I have launched the first of these two new video tutorials. This tutorial covers how to manage and edit the cube and how to add and manipulate content from the CoSpaces library onto the cube.
I am trying to keep these tutorials bite sized in order to make them accessible and skill specific. In watching this tutorial through a number of times I can already see that I will need to produce another supplimentary tutorial in order to cover all of the menu features on objects, but that is for another time. The next video tutorial deals with how to add code to an object using the CoSpaces code blocks and should be out later this week.
I have just embarked on a creating a series of tutorials related to creating content for the Merge Cube. As with most of these types of tools, I always find the pre created content too generic and passive for students, often rendering the tool to the realm of gimmick in the classroom. It might look cool to the untrained eye, but basically the content and the student interaction with it is limited and passive. Whilst there is plenty of content in the Merge Cube Gallery created by other educators, there is nothing quite so empowering as ownership.
Therefore I have subscribed to the CoSpaces pro account and have added the Merge Cube add on so that students can create their own content and manipulate that content in their hands with the Merge Cube. One of the avenues I am looking at exploring with my DT/HM contracts is Taonga. I am especially interested in using the combination of
I have already captured the content for three or possibly four tutorials and am in the process of editing the second video, it all takes time. But this first video is simply an overview of the Merge Cube space within CoSpaces and the location and range of the various tools tools and menus in the Merge Cube space. The real content, will begin to appear in the next video, so watch this space, in the meantime enjoy this overview tutorial.
I have started the process of updating my Scratch activities so that the support materials I have created over the last few years now look like the updated block design and colours that are in the updated Scratch 3.0 environment. It will be a long job, I have lots of Scratch activities, lessons and tutorials to support teachers and students with integrating coding, using Scratch into their class programme.
I have decided to work
The resource I have just updated is my two-part “Dance Mat” activity. This challenge is designed to be integrated into a technology program and so is a mix of coding and hard materials design,
This last week has been a busy one for the schools I support. The start of the week saw Jacqui Sharp and I run two days of workshops for teachers at Hingaia Penninsula School. On the first day we ran an introduction to coding workshop, where we introduced teachers to the delights and power of Scratch. The second day was a STEAM workshop, where we extended teachers to integrate several technologies into integrated learning modules.
On Wednesday and Thursday I ran two teacher only days for the teachers at Royal Oak Intermediate. On the first day I took the teachers through the workings of Google Drive, Classroom and a range of learning tools including Google Forms, awwapp and screencastify. On the second day we looked at implicit bias in learning and challenged teachers to allow the hard questions into their classrooms to challenge the orthodoxy of their pedagogy, the content of the curriculum and the impact it has on our students. We then investigated tools and resources that would allow that to happen in their class. After this full on day of learning for teachers, I then drove to Taranaki for the final PD day of the week.
In Taranaki, Jacqui and I were again working together, this time to launch the Kahui Ako o te Kohanga CoL contract on digital fluency, with a focus on numeracy. The day was excellent, with over 54 teachers and principals in attendance, then after this day, there was the drive back to Auckland to contend with. All in all a good week, next week is looking just as busy!
In preparation for some Teacher Only
The students are left to make their own decisions about how they want to present the final output, in the resource I have suggested that they use a combination of the following tools:
The long awaited and slightly delayed Scratch 3.0 is here. This is good news for iPad users, as now Scratch will work on iPads and with out an app. Scratch 3.0 is HTML5 compliant and will therefore play on anything. This is good news, it now removes the requirement that some schools had for using Tynker on iPads and Scratch on other devices, or making the leap to Tynker completely. Don’t get me wrong, I think that Tynker is excellent, I code my drones with it, but Scratch has a longer history in schools and the advent of CT and the new Digital Technologies curriculum means that teachers need to have Scratch, or Tynker just work on whatever devices they put in front of their kids. Scratch 3.0 lets that happen.
The only downside I can see of the new look, greater functioned Scratch 3.0 for me is the necessity perhaps of having to update all of my Scratch 2.0 based resources for teachers and students…
Perhaps, for the sake of teacher sanity, the sound blocks have been removed from the default block list on the standard Scratch 3.0 interface. I think it will take the students about 30 seconds to find the cat meow again however, so sanity is perhaps not saved… I am looking forward to rolling this out into my client schools in 2019.