Thursday, 17 March 2016

Future Schools Conference 2016

I attended the Future Schools conference in Sydney this year. Thanks to my school Hagley College for sending me..
This was a great opportunity to listen to speakers with ideas and tips on how to improve our teaching and our schools. I was in the" Teaching Kids to Code" conference, but did cross over to the Special Needs conference for an afternoon.
There were 2 days of full on learning and discussions which leave you feeling full and quite inspired. My mind has been racing and so many ideas come to light - now I need time to digest everything.

Here are a few notes from each session I went to, giving an overview of my days. They are just notes of the main points really for my reference. If you are interested in more information, see the links or ask me!

Demystifying Coding - Tim Bell

All digital systems are made with code.
Python and Scratch are also just programs.
You can get a Sprite fest! This is where students just get carried away with a large amount of Sprites on their page.
Coding, Programming, Computer Science are all about people,
Google developed a person finder which was launched for NZ quake - meeting human need.
Humans need to be able to pay for something with the correct amount - hence our use of barcodes We have a lot of confidence they are correct.
Doing the process away from computer first is best option. Then look at making programs in Scratch. join! Tools here for Computational thinking.

I always find Tim an engaging and informative speaker. He makes things make sense!

How to teach Coding within the existing Curriculum - Meredith Ebbs

Spend money on infrastructure. Most important is wifi and internet access.
Creative and Service careers are on the increase. Need computers for most things
Kodu-only windows-use for English- Visual programming system. She made a game where Mario rescues a princess. This included storyboarding and a wiki on terms.
This slide has the link to her presentation and contacts
Using Scratch in math. Scratch Junior has lots of resources. Students follow pictures-really simple for someone hesitant to teach coding. There will always be someone in the class who knows more than you so don't worry.
Pencil Code useful up to high school. Create pictures using 2D shapes.
Year 5 she gets them to build a board game using Makey Makey and Scratch.
CS First Year 7 learn Scratch and create own game.
At High School they get to make their own sprites.
No girls doing coding. She thinks this is due to marketing. Another problem is that girls stop coming because the boys take over. Definitely an issue.
Computational thinking: a digital age skill for everyone

Discover Authentic Learning - Anita L 'Enfant

ThinkUKnow  students answering questions about the internet
This came up several times at the conference:
Authentic learning must be:
Real world problem solving
Meaningful and useful

Makers challenge at the conference - students selected the challenges. It was great to see them working on these over the 2 days.

Robotics - Bronwyn Moreton

Teachers should go through curriculum and highlight where robotics fits.
Blue Bot for juniors-very young students
Dash and Dot-ultrasonic, infrared, bluetooth. Can play hide and seek Program Dot with Go! Program Dash with Blocky, very similar to Scratch-good for Year 7-8-9
Edison Robot-picks up barcode or program with Edware-uses variables and data containers
Pi2Go with Python -use EV3 Lego kit, program EV3 withMindstorms
Can robots inspire a passion for computing? Watch the talk by Robin Murphy -TEDtalk on importance of robotics on disasters.
It is important for students to understand how technology changes the future.

Let them get on with it - Marg Meijers 

GO! Gifted Online

"In the new economy, computer science isn't an optional skill. It's a basic skill, right along with the three Rs" Barack Obama

No guarantee they have previous experience. Some students can program apps and some never had computers. It is the equivalent of dropping students into algebra if they can't count yet!

Used gamification and at each level put skills that she wanted them to learn. Badge earned at each level. Then she had a Boss level that they had to pass to move on.
Did a scoreboard - they do this all the time at home, so it is nothing new.

Boss level - the teacher sends a challenge. Students expect to lose the first time so the Boss has to be a challenge.
Compare this with a school test and you can see the benefits.


I really enjoyed this session and have written another blog post about it with more detail and slides.

Coding with Drones, Droids and Robots - Brett Salakos

@MRSalakos                   #AussieEd

The law is quite strict on use of Drones. It needs to be checked before you use them.
He uses a drone in the hall with portable whiteboard for it to fly around and under and over.
Tickle app to connect with lots of devices drag and drop coding
Lunchtime coding club - set up a maze
Set up obstacle course outside
Search drone racing clips on Youtube
SPrk Lightning Lab has a plethora of ideas
Can set up a virtual classroom environment

Hour of Code and Beyond -

"The programmers of today are the wizards of the future"

You don't have to be a genius to code. Every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science.
Teachers and parents can do the Hour of Code too. They all have a goal that is fun, achievable and creative.
Block and JavaScript versions.
Multiple rounds of classroom testing before they go public.

What Code. org does:
Full K-12 curriculum-free
U.S. Teacher training
International reach-different languages

A course has full lesson plans. Web-based Interaction lessons, Videos, PD in the USA.

Code Club - Annie Parker

Free resources. After school Programme where kids learn to code for free.
Most jobs in the future will be based around coding.
Computational thinking is beneficial for all jobs.
self confidence, teamwork, confidence

"Coding is like a super power. They get to create the future."

750,000 jobs in tech in-U.S.A in 10 years will be unfilled
Needs fixing Atlassian -tech start up in Aus. Need more tech start up
Scratch, html, css, python
3yrs of resources free
free teacher training

52% of participants are girls in Aus-9-Ilyr olds so not pre-conditioned
Continually adding to library
Kid and inventor day. Bring in people to inspire kids. Coding though play
learning though code helps problem solving skills

This session started us thinking about how we can set up a coding club at school, perhaps with School of Apps students being the mentors for our Year9 and 10 students.

Coding in the Junior School

CSER Digital Technologies Moocs - from the University of Adelaide.

 Learning coding helps in all areas of learning, not just computer science.

 She went through a huge range of resources that could be used with Junior school students. This is just a small example of them.

She started with Codeclub world and just downloaded projects. Does a lot of unplugged activity.
Group for girls to chat about what they did during the day.
Cs Unplugged resources
certificates and digital badges
Makerspace in the library - she brings in parents and grandparents to help out.
Literacy. Binary Code -Binary bracelets
Fuzz ball in kodable
The official Scratch Book-really good. for Scratch Junior
Science- Use Scratch to teach Circuits
Hello Ruby -LindaLiukas A delightful way to teach kids about computers
Ada Byron Lovelace and the thinking machine. Binary games Magic binary Trick game
Usborne- Computers and coding
Uses Tickle to program BB8
Littlebits for makerspaces
Bitsbox -make on tablet then get a QR code and put on your phone. Through hour of code.

I was amazed at the huge amount of resources available for teachers. If you are keen to code, you can!

Use of Virtual Reality in Special Education - Mathieu Marunczyn 

Matieu teaches Tech in Special Ed at Jackson.
Oculus Rift with Touch
Hololens and Google Glass

Kinect Party xbox360 great for social interaction. Kids love it for games.
Kids are going to have this-we need to keep up
Why virtual reality and special ed?
Emerging technology, affordable, Virtual sensory spaces, learning environments
In special needs you should ask for gear from companies. They will help if you have an idea you want to try.

Physical space limitations, behavioural, issues, social role modelling. and engagement, funding

Ethical considerations:
Ethics approval, screen time limited, adult supervision well being checks, Oculus user guideline
We don't have research on what can happen when students use this equipment.

Titans of Space, Meditation app (sit on a beach), Positive response from students.
Observable results: Behaviour modification-calming, Language Development, Increased engagement

What is it used for?
Sensory experiences and calm spaces -somewhere to go have time out
Social modelling for kids with autism can have interactions with a character
Broader education use
Humanities and job training
Go for a walk in an area and flick a switch to another space
One example is "Clouds over Sidra" - a virtual walkthrough of  a refugee camp. A review of this is here.
Richard Attenborough -Virtual reality "First Life"
Workforce training. Kids doing training before they leave. Driving lessons and practise safely in VR.

Damage to real world relationships? Are we losing co-ordination?
Dependency and escapism -depression?
Cost  - Still very little educational content. Kids are coding maybe they can do it themselves?

This session really blew my mind. So much potential and so many questions. This is not just in Special Ed, but imagine what could be done in all classrooms. Where to from here?? 

Raising student achievement through technology - Robert Carter

Technology can transform lives
Access to content: Programme that can read text for Apple -Prizmo
Digital content: digital feedback enables students to revisit it
Loved this quote from Robert - "If I had asked him to write it down, he would have left the room telling me my history and my future!"

"From the moment students enter a school, the most important factor in their success is not the color of their skin or the income of their parents, it's the person standing at the front of the classroom... America's future depends on its teachers."

—  Barack Obama

Video interview -list of questions. Used Typorama App for text blocks. Use video compressor App and put video in SMS
They do video stories for SN students and put out to all students. Rather than just IEP. Gives the student a voice.

Flipped Classroom - Anita L'Enfant

Have to write 2 questions about the notes at home
Can look over and over the notes. Kids can pause and rewind. For tests and quizzes you can go back and watch him teach it again. Videos on Youtube.
How to make the best use of teacher time. Best use of time is talking with students
Need a screencasting tool and somewhere to put it. Specifically used for chalk and talk or demonstrations. Doesn't have to be you. Use Kahn academy.

work ethic
School culture
Not good for everything
Time for video
Technology -where-how

Parents love flipped classroom. Students often say -"Mrs x does it this way" so now they can show parents how so they can help. Good for junior high.
Start by setting up your laptop to record your instruction.
screencasting tool - Explain Everything
Verso - Got a built-in sharing system. Need password. Has questioning techniques
My Ed App - Datacom uses this. Can embed and takes to next level. Learning Pathways System.
ITunes u
Don't limit it to just a video

Focus on the learning. Group them in like needs for peer coaching.
Assessment. You can get students to use Explain Everything to talk though the process while 
writing answers.
Choose the best 2 Explain Everything on a topic and put into their video space.

Overall, the conference was an amazing experience. The time spent listening to inspiring teachers
and then discussing ideas with my colleagues was well spent. So may things to think about now 
that I can implement into my classroom and share with others. Hopefully this blog is just the first 
step to inspiring others.

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