Merge Cube Tutorial

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.

Updating Resources

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 backwards, in other words, I am updating my latest resources first and will work my way backwards through time, as I said, this is going to take some time to do. So keep checking back here to see what progress I am making.

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, proto-typing and construction using Makey Makey as the interface between the hard materials and the coding in Scratch.

A week of PD

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!

Scratch 3.0 is launched

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.

dSo what is the downside? None really, the interface looks slightly different, the blocks look slightly different, but the good news is that tools like edscratch have been using Scratch type blocks for a while now. Also the integration with other third party hardware like Makey Makey, BBC Microbit and even LEGO Mindstorms has just moved Scratch 3.0 into another realm, a good one too.

The new Scratch 3.0 interface, slightly different layout, with the stage and the sprites moved to the right, just like Tynker. The blocks have had a face lift…
These are the additional services and blocks that currently ship with Scratch 3.0. Expect to see more third party interface blocks to appear, exciting times for coding and project based learning in education ahead!

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…

Resources with blocks like these will now have to be updated…

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.