Sunday, May 29, 2016

TeachMeet - What's in a name?

Ewan recently marked the tenth birthday of TeachMeet (Ten years on from the very first unconference for educators: TeachMeet is 10) where he shared his memories of that first meeting in the Jolly Judge. Unfortunately, I was unable to join the birthday party... but it did start me thinking about my own memories (some of which I shared on his facebook post). It also started me thinking about the name "TeachMeet", how we came to choose it and the bullet (or bullets) we dodged not choosing a different name. I have not used this blog much in recent years abut it seemed right to post about naming TeachMeet in this blog since this is where it all started for me.

Going to the pub with Will Richardson
Ewan has described the proto-TeachMeet in the Jolly Judge. He  claims he always had a "stick it to the man" agenda. That may be true for him. Me? I just thought it would be fun to go to the pub with Will Richardson. Ewan also explains that this meeting was called the "ScotEduBlogger Meetup" and states (as if it was obvious) that this name was limiting and that "TeachMeet was born..." (as if it was a painless birth). I remember the choice of the name emerging more slowly, I remember online and offline discussion, and I remember choosing just in time to get the word out for SETT (as SLF was then called).

The discussion about "What to call this thing" mostly took place on the Scotsedublog wiki. On 8 June 2006, Ewan created a page titled newtechmeet and posed the question:
We need a name. Not something too bloggy, not too techy. Suggestions?
 Later that same day, John Johnston added this as the first suggestion:
How to stop worrying and love the blog.
On 10 June 2006, I responded with the following list:
Read/Write Roundtable
Read/Write Roundup
Read/Write Rammy
Classroom 2.0
SETT 2.0
ScotEduBlog Bash
ScotEduBlog Mashup
...I made more suggestions that day (not all of them serious) and eventually posted TeachMeet as a possible name.​ Credit where credit's due. I explain on the wiki discussion page that I came up with the name after toying with variations on the newtechmeet page name. I commented, ' a wise man once said, "It's not the tech, it's the teach."' For the record, the "wise man" was Ewan McIntosh. It is something he said while at Jordanhill. I ripped it off and have been using it without accreditation ever since!

TeachMeet at SETT, 2006
Almost immediately after posting the TeachMeet suggestion, I edited it to turn it into "ScotEduBlog TeachMeet". I thought any meetup would be all about blogging. And in my defence, I wasn't the only one thinking this way. For example, on a number of occasions, John Johnston defended the inclusion of "blog" or "blogging" in the title. In retrospect, it was much better to lose the "blog" since it has allowed TeachMeet to grow and expand beyond its blogging origins.

The other mistake I made was to limit it to Scotland. I thought this was something for Scottish educators, hence my addition of the "ScotEdu" bit. I thought it was for my chums and friends of my chums. I was even more wrong about that! Thankfully, smarter people than me were in charge of picking the name!

I did have some vision though. I suggested: "What ever we call it, if we think it might become a regular event, we should stick a "2006" at the end." I thought this was something that had legs and that it would be repeated. OK, I thought it would be annual event, but nobody is perfect.

By the end of June, we had the following list of possible names and had started to vote for our favourites:
Read/Write Roundtable
Collaborative Communication Colloquium
Classroom 2.0
SETT 2.0
ScotEduBlog Bash
ScotEduBlog Mashup
ScotEduBlog TeachMeet
Bloggers Anon... and on and on
Blog on
How to stop worrying and love the blog
Mashup Impossible
You've Got eLearning
Lord of the Webrings
Hello Mr Chips/Mrs Chips
Ewan called us to order, drafted four possible logos based on the two most popular choices. (Both Ewan and I liked "EduSlam", but clearly we were outvoted!) It was down to "TeachMeet 06" and "ScotEduBlog 06". We then voted again to choose our favourite logo. On 29 June, the decision was made and this logo was added to the wikipage.

Clearly, the right name was chosen. We ended up with a name that didn't limit us to our Scottish roots. A name that allowed us to talk about more than blogging. A clear example of the wisdom of crowds! (And, it has to be said, the wisdom of Ewan, whose gentle prompting pushed us in the right direction.)

We had a name, we had a venue, all that was needed was to organise and deliver the event. As we made our plans on the wiki, I don't think any of us knew just how successful TeachMeet 06 was going to be. But that is a whole other story...

Saturday, November 07, 2015

C@SScot 15: Using SOLAR for Unit and Assignment Verification

Raymond Simpson: Using SOLAR for Unit and Assignment Verification
Live capture

Unit assessments already on SOLAR. Pupils complete answers in screen, or can upload documents that demonstrate they have completed the outcomes.

Pupils can be given an assessment record, when the pupil has the evidence, they upload it. However, don't assume SQA have access to all kinds of software - better to take and submit screenshots. {Or PDF?} Unit and course assessments for Nat 5, Higher and Advanced Higher all there on SOLAR.

C@SScot 15: A Deep analysis of N5 and H Computing Science

A Deep analysis of N5 and H Computing Science - Bill Buchanan
Live capture

 Most science graduates go into software engineering... eventually! {Stated as fact - I would be interested to see some evidence to support it! - DDM}

 The Internet of things means that the Internet is going to get bigger.

 Looking at the Bright Red Digital Zone site. Ask pupils which subjects they are studying: Computing is 6th most popular - behind French. In terms of engagement, Computing is 2nd - after Business Studies. Most logins from pupils are in January. Site designed in Visual Studio. Uses cloud services (e.g. French area uses Microsoft translation services).

C@SScot 15: Opening Keynote

C@SScotland Conference - Keynote: Dr Iain Martin, University of Dundee
How Can You Test an Autonomous Planetary Lander?
Live captured

{Biggest attendance at C@SS conference so far. Reflecting a growing interest in Computing or confidence in our subject?}

University of Dundee has a space technology centre which collects and archives loads of data. Among other things, they have a space systems research group which looks at designing autonomous planetary landers. Computational Thinking underpins their work.

Problem Analysis:
Major task and very difficult to prove you can do it. Very high stakes, many possible reasons it can fail and very expensive to try. The lander has to be able to land autonomously (time delays and limited knowledge of what you are landing on!). You have to balance amount of fuel needed for manoeuvring and landing with the sensors and science stuff you want the lander to carry. The lander will need ”a whole bunch of sensors" to detect position and hazards. Cameras are a low cost, lightweight sensor (with no moving parts - a good thing!). Need to process the images. Difficult to prove the tech works. Best Mars landing so far is MSL which still had a 6km landing eclipse - would really like to get better! One way of testing is to create simulated data. This is difficult. Comparison was made with Apollo 11 mission. Landing site was Boulder strewn but Armstrong was able to steer to a plain just beyond the crater with seconds of fuel left!

{Loads more stuff showing how Computational Thinking underpins major engineering projects like this but I occidentally deleted it. Oops!}

Playing with Trinket

Trinket is an online code development environment. You can create and run python programs, html/css, blocks (Scratch-like programming environment), music, and something called Glow-script (creates 3D stuff). I can't see how to save html stuff, but it says you can embed them. If that's right, here's a knock, knock joke:

You can save python programs... and this might embed a simple ASCII art example:

Will need to play more with Trinket to see what else it can do.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Growth Mindsets

[Notes taken from a podcast of a chap from Chew Valley talking about how they had introduced ideas around growth Mindsets to staff and pupils.]

Growth Mindset verses Fixed Mindsets.

Click graphic to see larger version. 

Based on the work of Carol Dweck

See also TED Talk: The Power Of Belief - Mindset And Success (Eduardo Briceno). 

Mantra according to some is: Work smarter, not harder.
Change this to: Work harder to get smarter

Motivational posters from Chew Academy: see this PowerPoint.

Shift in language. Listen to what you say to yourself:
 Instead of... Try saying...
 I'm not good at this. What am I missing?
 I'm brilliant at this. I'm on the right track. 
 I give up.  I'll try a different way.
 This is too hard.This is going to take time and effort.  
 I can't do this.  I'm going to learn how to do this. 
 I'll never be as clever as her.  I'm going to learn how she does it, so I can too. 
 It's not good enough.  How can I improve it?

Every teacher needs to improve, not because they are not good enough, but because they can be even better.”
-- Dylan William

[End of notes.]

I am intrigued by the "shift in language" table. The second line is interesting because the "Instead of..." entry is the only positive statement in the column. It suggests that pupils who are doing well can still have a fixed mindset. They may be succeeding but could they be even more successful. It seems to me therefore that there should be more positive statements in this column. For example, the second last row could be: 

 I'm cleverer than her. I could be even more clever.

What do you think? Could any others be adapted like this? Or can you think of any new, positive entries that could be added?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

MSc Computing for Educators - C@SS Conference

Alison Varey
(Live capture of session)

Practice based MSc from Napier aimed at teachers. Credit given for work based activities.

Also talked about student placements in schools and the the Christmas lectures they offer.

Location:Colinton Road,Edinburgh,United Kingdom