Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Lego Education - WeDo

C@SS Conference Workshop

Lego Education - WeDo

{Live-ish capture of workshop session with only minor edits.}

WeDo Duck by DavidDMuir
WeDo Duck, a photo by DavidDMuir on Flickr
Connect, construct, contemplate, continue.

We were given six bricks and told to build a duck. Everyone made something different - creativity!

WeDo uses a couple of motors, a couple of sensors and a USB transmitter to send instructions to the kit. The programming interface is very Lego like and also provides hints on how to build the necessary models. Supporting children as the make something that comes to life is extraordinarily powerful. Engages and excites. 

Built a spinner and had a competition to see whose spinner spun the longest. Not that I'm competitive, but we won! (Nearly 28 seconds.)

The construction set we used is normally £88.99 but there was a 50% discount until end of November. Software is £59.99 for individual licence and site licence is available. 

Creating resources for the flipped classroom.

C@SS Conference Presentation

Presenter: Charlie Love (Computing teacher)

{Live-ish capture of presentation with only minor edits.}

"I like Curriculum for Excellence." -- Charlie Love
Charlie Love at C@SS.) by DavidDMuir
Charlie Love at C@SS
a photo by
DavidDMuir on Flickr.
Wanted to get away from lecturing, especially at Higher Level. How do we make pupils better learners? One way is to give feedback and some great ideas about that in Visible Learning by John Hattie. Traditional class is 5 minutes of chat about homework (which they didn't all do) followed by teacher talking at them for most of the rest of the period. Other problem is, if they struggle with homework, since they are at home, they have nobody to talk to about it. In class, they sit passively and listen to teacher. At home, when they need one-to-one support, they are on their own. 

Flipped classroom, the pupils spend time at home getting content (e.g. by watching a video) means more time in class working with individuals and groups. The way children work at home is they are in an environment that is busy with information coming from many places. Why can't schools get into that mix. Also, it helps busy learners, those involved in music, and trips, extra-curricular and ... Struggling learners can pause and rewind the teacher. There is more interaction between learner and teacher as well as between learners in the flipped classroom. Means teacher gets to know pupils much better and can be much more individualised. 

Research on flipped classrooms is emerging. For example, Clintondale High School

Arrangement documents are not about learning and teaching. They are the end point. The assessment hoops that will be jumped through at the end. Where you should start is with learning intentions, "I can..."  See primary school teachers for good examples. Once you have a good set of learning intentions, you then develop the lesson. With flipped lessons, we want to be consist and constrained to say 5 minute chunks. Charlie wrote a script so that he didn't waffle. Focus on content and clear explanations. One page of A4 is roughly 3 minutes of video. 

Take your time and go for clarity. Charlie created the audio and used that to direct the videos. Can use Audacity for free. Charlie used animation. Started with stop motion but switched to digital animation for speed. Could use presentation software or something like Camtasia or SamStudio or Smart notebook or ScreenChomp (iPad version available) 

The video is the easy bit. How do you know if they've done the homework? Could have quick five minutes at the start of the lesson. Important to build in formative assessment, e.g. Put a quiz on the VLE. If you are not talking, what do you do with the time? Charlie does a lot of group and peer activities. for example: paired programming; jigsaw activities (e.g. different groups developing stuff independently that is then integrated into a final product); larger projects. Can use something like CodeAcademy but you have to add checkpoints and tasks where they demonstrate they have learned. Too much scaffolding in CodeAcademy means the pupils don't get the fun of building there own stuff from scratch. 

Charlie put his stuff on YouTube. Means YouTube looks after things like subtitles transcoding for different platforms and can also create course playlists from variety of sources. He has a paperless classroom. 

Charlie is moving to mastery learning. Don't move on until you have got it. Requires clear learning objectives. This can mean that pupils may all be working on different areas at the same time. The learner takes ownership of the learning (means teacher has to surrender some control). Personalised learning. Learners can't hide while you lecture. If you do mastery learning properly, you close the gap and raise the ceiling!

Challenges. You have to be prepared - you can't fly by the seat of your pants any more. Learners may just want to be told what to do. If lots going on in the classroom, you need to be a content master! Need multiple formative assessments. Also, when do you do the endpoint exam?

Charlie's stores and shares his resources on Google Drive.

Don't focus on the video. It is just the means to the end of letting you get to the discussion, exploration and depth of learning

Location:Lilybank Gardens,Glasgow,United Kingdom
Conference date: Saturday, 26 October 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

C@SS Conference - Keynote 2

Professional Learning And Networking for Computing- Scotland’s PLAN C
Dr Quintin Cutts (Senior Lecturer at Glasgow University)

There is a problem with many new school buildings where there is no staffroom - no place to meet together and share practice. Many teachers are as a result increasingly isolated.

Quintin Cutts Photo by
David Muir
Creative Commons License
Proposal for CPD that came from grassroots. The ADiCOST group was given as an example of teachers working together and supporting… and sharing. (Can’t find web presence another than this Scratch page)

One of the key aims of PLAN C is therefore Community Building. Lead teachers have already been identified and local groups are being formed. Sharing between the groups can also take place. Some sharing can already take place. For example, between people with Information Systems experience and people with Computing experience coming together to build expertise for Nat 5. CPD does not have to come from the expert at the front - there are many people in the classroom with knowledge and experience.

Hope is that local hubs will start in March/April 2014. There will be local sharing and community, but there will be more formal sessions too.

Important questions have to be addressed. For example, why teach Computing Science in schools? Our subject is under threat, we have to be able to articulate what we do and why. One reason is connected to problem solving. Often our approach to problem solving is to use intuition. The problem with that is that the real world has hidden mechanisms and is not always very intuitive. If the way things work is so hidden, we need a method of creation and testing of hypotheses - Computational Thinking gives us a model for doing this. Computing can deliver a skill set that is useful across the curriculum.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

C@SS Conference - Keynote 1

Classrooms, Kitchens and Farms: Exploring the Narrative Nature of PCK
Professor Sally Fincher
(Professor of Computing Education at University of Kent)

Cookbooks: Mrs Beeton was the first to separate ingredients from method and also gave some contextual information (e.g. The cost of the meal.) This was very influential but other ways of describing recipes are possible, for example the engineer's cookbook time is on the x-axis and ingredients are on the y-axis. The best selling non-fiction book a wee while ago was Jamie Oliver's 30 minute meals. A comment on Amazon said the problem with the book was to prepare a meal in 30 minutes with Jamie's book, you had to be Jamie Oliver!

Knowledge is situated. You have the knowledge in the recipe but you need a whole bunch of other skills and experiences to pull it off. Often the best way is to see someone else make the food (mother, friend, ...). How do teachers share this situated knowledge? How do we learn from the experience of others?

One way Sally has tried is through Disciplinary Commons where people who are teaching the same areas meet on a regular basis to share practice and experience. Gave the example of introducing selection - don't start with the complex logic and flowcharts. Start with playing cards and lay hem out - ask people to choose the largest. If you do it that way, they will not be able to explain how the chose the right one. If instead, you put the cards face down and say they can only look at two at a time, then they can start to unpick what they are doing. This marries the content knowledge (about selection) with pedagogical knowledge (how people learn) and experiential knowledge (about what we've taught before and whether or not it was successful). Disciplinary Commons has an archive of portfolios with:

  • Context
  • Content
  • Instructional design
  • Delivery
  • Assessment
  • Evaluation

There is also a commentary to contextualise. This narrative knowledge is not a recipe but supports and builds expertise.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

IPad Sharing Practice - General Discussion

Why not Android?
Various issues were raised. Ease of use of iPads was one key feature. Maturity of Apps and teaching tools was also cited. Protected nature of iPad environment was also seen as an advantage. Was acknowledged that it is a constantly moving area and that the "best solution today could easily change tomorrow.

Creativity seen as great for lower school but is it valuable to upper school too?
Research a key element of many S5/6 courses and the iPad is very useful in this regard. But is it as effective for creating large dissertations and reports? Is screen and onscreen keyboard too limiting? Various views were expressed most did not see it as a problem but a minority remained unconvinced.

Tools for teachers?
The 3sys browser based tool was recommended. Also mentioned was Rover to give access to Flash content.

Does 1:1 undermine collaborative work?
Some evidence (from Preston Lodge?) that their devices were used by pupils to create study and self organised support groups. Major advantage of 1:1 is the personal nature of the device. Instead of a school resource sitting unused in a cupboard at weekends and holidays, pupils can make much better use of the technology. Also, acknowledges the pupils are lifelong learners and reflects reality of the world in which they are growing up.

Technical issues?
Evidence shows 1:1 devices are damaged less often perhaps because of the sense of ownership. Importance of good case (Griffin Survivor seen as a must for pupils) emphasised. High School of Dundee reported no technical problems at all with their iPads. Some issues with AppleTV but seems to have been ironed out with latest version and iOS.

Interactive Whiteboards?
Argued that iPad and 1:1 was more interactive than IWBs.

Networking Issues?
Tablets have simplified the process of using computers - when you use the app, the iPad becomes the app. The same is not true for networking! {Still a black art! -- DDM}

Initially many schools are locking it down on the principle that it is easier to open later rather than to tighten things up after leaving things open.

Device Management Software
Was suggested it might be better to have different profiles for different groups (e.g. one for each year group) although it was acknowledged this does added to admin load. Stewart's Melville want to use AirWatch and a web based login system which sets up device. They see the devices as personal and therefore give the user as much control as possible. High School of Dundee has added the restriction that only age appropriate content can be downloaded but not restricted otherwise. Normal filtering on network when in school but not restricted when used at home as that is seen as parental responsibility.

Don't focus on an app - focus on the function!

How do you get an overview of a years work of there is no "jotter" of work?ePortfolio tools still being investigated. Teacher record keeping perhaps more important.

What happens if they forget their iPads?
What happens when a pupil forgets a textbook? Schools where it is in use found it is not an issue - they forget books, but they don't forget their iPads! Also, no problem about them not being charged!

iPad Sharing Practice - The Edinburgh Academy Junior School

Ben Dean and Rob Tyrell

Book Creator:
Book Creator was used to report to parents. Teacher created a book from a template for every pupil and took video (for example of pupil reading) and pictures of work (e.g. seeing writing develop). Used maximum of 30 seconds of video. Made notes on various aspects of the pupil work. On the targets page, the pupil could be videoed saying what they wanted to achieve. Parents can not only hear what the teacher thinks but can easily see and hear from their own child.

It did take more time to set this up and prepare for the parents' night but the teacher felt it was definitely worth it! All the notes and information in the one place.

Other developments:
They had someone from Cedar School speaking to the school. They are also making use of that style of reporting, for example, Cedar School sent out an end of year report to parents in a similar format.

School also set up Silver Surfer days to get grandparents up to speed on iPad use.

IPad Sharing Practice - High School of Dundee

David Smith
Initially sceptical about the transformative power of iPads. Clearly a great device but less clear what impact it would have on teaching. Turning points were: increasing use of personal iPad; and visit to Cedars School of Excellence (probably the first 1:1 iPad school in the world). Became increasingly clear that they had to move to some 1:1 solution and two years ago, the iPad seemed the best way to go. Pilot project launched with two year groups and all staff involved got iPads about eight weeks before pupils. Formed links with University of Dundee which was seen to be mutually beneficial.
This year being rolled out to most of the school with a BYOD approach for upper years. The school treats the iPads lie a book list item and parents are expected to buy, although school is providing leasing option.
Some teachers unclear about how it will be used. Concern also that they would be starting from scratch. Specifically, how were they to access existing content? For example, no solution was given to access network drives, so a variety of approaches were developed. In retrospect, they think they should have given clearer guidance on using a standard way since less confident staff have not developed clear methods and lack of consistency in approach has caused issues. Perhaps should have looked at something like WebDAV.
Also, in retrospect, too much time was spent on how to use the apps and not enough time on the pedagogy - how to teach with the iPads. Sharing good practice seen as very important now.
Managing expectations is important. Wanted to make it clear that, "It's an investment, not a race!" Pupils expectations were easier to manage as they accepted they would not be using the iPads all lesson, every lesson - only when it was appropriate. Teachers though felt obliged to give parents their money's worth. The SAMR model was used again to help teachers see the long term goals as well as the short term changes that are manageable.
Measuring Success
The school measured the success of the trial by questionnaires issued to staff, pupils and parents. The University of Dundee came on board and collected data on attitudes as well as what was happening in the classroom. They have not investigated the impact on academic success but have instead focused on engagement with learning.
They have data on what the pupils thought they got out of it. Creating and presenting was the listed as the top benefit. Gaming was mentioned by the younger pupils - some use made of educational games but mainly they liked being able to play on the iPads, for example when it was wet and they could not go out to play. The pupils, particularly the older pupils, found they were carrying less - fewer books and notes - which was seen as a major benefit. The also likes the communication opportunities, for example, they S2 group very quickly set up a messenger group for the year group that was mostly used for school /educational messages.
Pupils very much saw the iPad as a creative tool - for example using Notation And BookCreator.

Some parents wanted to print but pupils did not see that as an issue at all.
What was reaction to adding iPad to required "kit" list?
Hasn't been a problem. But they were careful not to make promises about savings (although Maths department are using TI calculator app and on iPad texts and are seeing savings).

IPad Sharing Practice - St Aloysiuus

James Cluckie

Previously used shared notebooks, interactive whiteboards and GoogleDocs but there were problems, for example, difficult to react flexibly when you have to book notebooks well in advance. A few years ago, went for a NetBook solution. Felt this was more appropriate than iPad because there was a familiarity with Windows, felt it was more appropriate for creating content (iPads were seen as more useful for consuming content), and a minimum spec was defined so parents could buy alternative devices if they preferred.

There were pros and cons. It was felt that the classroom management software gave some control over what pupils were doing on devices, although he admitted that staff soon learned that, just like any other resource, direct observation of pupils while they work is usually the most effective way of monitoring what is going on.

Problems included managing expectations - for example, pupils should not expect to use the devices all the time in every class all day. Staff also frustrated that they did not have the time to develop as many uses as they would have liked. The devices were cheap and were too easily damaged. The school we surprised {I'm not! -- DDM} at the lack of IT skills in the pupils. Final nail in the coffin was the collapse of the Netbook market.

Evaluation of alternative advices took in laptops, android devices and iPads (among others). As programme rolled forward, they decided to allow mixed environment as they felt they should continue to support the Netbook. In first week of new year, it was about 20% iPad and 80% Netbook. Within two weeks, that had turned around completely and about 80% now use iPads. Support a BYOD approach for iPads (anything from iPad 2 up). Offering leased option to parents. Most staff/students have gone newer iPads but a few have gone for iPad mini.

Staff were surveyed about their confidence in using the iPad. Most are now confident in their own use and are looking for more advanced training.

School is using Schoology which offers similar facilities as eBackpack. School no longer issues paper based pupil planners. Instead, the teacher enters things such as homework into Schoology and this is automatically copied into pupil diaries. Have just rolled out parent access to Schoology. Some MIS programs supported although again, mostly American systems.

Explain Everything being used a s a screencasting tool. Being used by pupils to submit work. Example given of a pupil submission showing her understanding time - allows demonstration of deeper understanding. Working on an SAMR model. See tools such as Explain Everything as helping the move into the Modification and Redefinition stages.

Meraki Device Management used. Reflector App used to send iPad display to existing projectors - works but "is a bit flaky"!

The iPad has found wide acceptance with staff and pupils. Only 7% of staff say they still need help with the basics, although small but very vocal minority remain anti-Apple!

Location:Edinburgh, United Kingdom

iPad Sharing Practice - Lomond School

Iain Morrison

Described how school has moved from "mobile classroom" approach to a 1:1 iPad scheme.

Problems with the mobile classroom included the reliability of the laptops and the increasingly lengthy startup times. Guided by discussion with colleagues and research such as the Scotland iPad Evaluation, led to the decision to go for 1:1 iPad rather than Bring Your Own Device. (Importance of sense of ownership seemed important.) there was complete backing from Education and Finance Committees as well as the Board of Governors. Felt it was important not to pass cost on to parents. Was seen as an educational provision, like textbooks and other equipment.

Staff devices were distributed first. Research and discussion made it clear this was important. There were two training sessions per week after school in June. When staff returned after summer, (almost?) all were on board and keen to get the iPads out to pupils. A small group has been formed to help support staff and help drive developments. Also, asked by Socrative to pilot new version of their app.

Improved broadband connection. Created fibre optic link to Junior school. Re-wired internal network. Installed Aerohive wi-fi in all locations. Set up AirWatch Mobile Device Management. Purchased whole school apps through Apple Volume Purchase Program scheme.

They went for latest 16 GB iPads, a Survivor iPad case (seen as important for field use of the iPads) and full accidental loss/theft/damage cover. Still distributing the devices, partly because they waited for iOS 7. (New functionality added with iOS 7 allows things to be done that previously required AirWatch, a Macintosh, or specialist equipment.

Pupils will receive basic training and there will also be a number of iPad Education evenings that will explain how parents can allow certain apps to be downloaded as well as how they can use parental controls etc.

Have not gone for AppleTV yet so still looking at projector connectivity and wi-fi printing.

Going to set up pupil "Apple Genius" group that will run like a lunchtime club.

Delays during the summer. Did not find AirWatch's customer support staff particularly helpful. Underestimated device setup time (small school, only to technical support staff added to difficulty). New iOS release delayed things too.

Using eBackpack to manage workflow through the iPads. Pupils and staff can write on PDFs. Handles submission, grading and return of assignments. Works as ePortfolio as well as Gradebook. (Parents can be given access to gradebook - although that is for future development in Lomond.) It does link with a numb of MIS systems and can export to other systems (such as e1).

What is the plan for refreshing the devices?
Plan to refresh on. 3-4 year program. They decided to buy the iPads outright rather than lease. Will offer the devices for sale to pupils when they leave school.

Location:Edinburgh,United Kingdom

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

iPad Apps for Teachers: Cloud Storage

As I said in my last post, I was asked to recommend some iPad apps for teachers. Here is part two of six: Cloud storage.

Cloud Storage

clouds by Extra Medium
clouds, a photo by Extra Medium on Flickr.
Dropbox is supported by many other iPad apps, so it is almost an essential way to move files between devices. Click on the share button on an app and Dropbox will probably be offered as one of the options.

Google Drive:
This app is a bit clunky but is useful if people already make use of Google Drive.

Allows you to connect to and synchronise with network drives. It worked well in my previous workplace and was the preferred way of storing documents because you could sync with network copies of documents thereby minimising the risk of ending up with multiple, slightly different, versions of the same thing. I could also use WebDAV to mount drives on my home computer, so this was an easy way to transfer stuff between my home computer and my iPad.

If your school doesn’t have WebDAV support (see above) this Remote Desktop client for the iPad  may provide a (slightly awkward) way to access school network drives.

What other storage and transfer tools would you recommend? And, what is the best way to share documents with pupils, parents or fellow teachers?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

iPad Apps for Teachers: Note Taking

I was asked recently to recommend some iPad apps fpr teachers. It was suggested I aim for five or six apps but I git a bit carried away and suggested umpteen instead. I thought it was worth reproducing in this blog to see if anyone disagreed with my choices or if they had any to add that I missed.

Teacher's Desk by mortsan
Teacher's Desk, a photo by mortsan on Flickr.
The list was divided into six sections, so I'll do this over six blog posts. The first category was note taking.

Note Taking

Both for teachers presenting but also as a great tool for pupils to communicate their knowledge and understanding using text, graphics video etc.

Notes Plus:
I would go for this rather than Pages. You can word process on the iPad with Pages but I think that is not the iPad's main strength. The iPad is an ideal tool for note taking though and Notes Plus is a package that I’ve used and find impressive. There is an in-app upgrade to add handwriting recognition but I’ve never done this so don’t know if it is any good!

An alternative to Notes Plus. I have never used this app but I saw a friend use it to take notes at a conference and it looked impressive. Pulling in screen shots and webpages to annotate as well as adding handwritten notes to pdf documents.

PDF Expert:
Annotate on multi-page pdfs. Good synchronisation with a variety of cloud storage services means you don’t end up with one version on your iPad a a different version on your desktop.

PDF Printer:
Converts other documents to pdfs. Good companion program for PDF Expert and other similar note taking apps.

Syncs across multiple devices including desktops. Variety of note types supported. Limited Optical Character Recognition supported (e.g. photograph a business card and Evernote can extract the contact details so you can copy them into your contacts list).

So, what do you think? Is there anything obvious I've missed? Is there anything I've listed that doesn't deserve to be there?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Fun On Friday #163: What's cooler than Spock in an advert?

...Two Spocks in an advert.

I would apologise for featuring two Star Trek related Fun on Friday's in a row but this advert was too good to put off for another week.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Fun On Friday #162: You as a Star Trek figure

It's been a long time since my last Fun on Friday but I hope you agree this one has been worth the wait.

Send in a couple of photos of yourself and Cubify will print a 3D figure of you as a character from either Star Trek: The Next Generation; Voyager; or Deep Space 9. How cool is that?

For more details see the Star Trek website, which is where I stole this picture:

And it costs less than $70. Well, a bit out my justifiable price range at the moment... but I can dream!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

TMTablet - Moving to 1:1

Mark Cunningham - Moving to 1:1 - what we did, we learned

Moved 1:1 with android tablets for all first years in 2012-13. Rolling out to new first year next session.

What has changed? Lots of little things that in themselves don't justify the cost but put together... For example, taking a photograph with the tablet then drawing from it, or building pyramids in World of Warcraft when learning about Egyptians.

There has been a growing sense of the positive impact that it has had. Staff are using the hashtag #fhs1to1 {I think!} to share what they are doing.

Introducing to S3 because they think it will be easier to integrate - in S1 there are too many single period classes and harder to really embed goo practice.

TMTablet - Games design on the iPad

Ross Gibson - Computer programming and games design on the iPad

Some great apps for introducing programming. {Missed the first couple and will add later}

Daisy The Dinosaur: Sequences and interaction.

Hopscotch: Like Scratch but for the iPad.

Sketch Nation: Computer game creator. Ross had primary 1 children creating games with this app! Create a game in three minutes. Good for talking and listening stuff too.
John Cochrane - iBooks, what's all the fuss about? 

Started by confessing he was a Science teacher and therefore, by definition, a "geek". But he also said that he was entirely self taught and that all he was going to show was easily achievable.

He started with a demonstration of iBooks and showed how easy it was to create interactive textbooks, how they can save a fortune on photocopying! But also how much the interactive elements (such as videos and quizzes) add.


TMTablet - Introduction to iTunes U

Fraser Speirs - Introduction to iTunes U 

Fraser says that last year, they moved all their secondary subjects onto using iTunesU; but just private courses, as yet, they are only sharing a few things.

Talked about how you can deliver materials, such as movies, but that the key to a course is the posts feature. Posts are used to collate assignments, materials etc.

TeachMeet Tablet - Using the iPad to support Learners with Additional Support Needs

Craig Mill - Using the iPad to support Learners with Additional Support Needs 
{Live capture but with later edits and additions.}

Craig Mill - CALL Centre Edinburgh
CC 2013 by-nc-sa
Photo by David Muir
Seven ideas in seven minutes. A whistle-stop tour through how the iPad supports learners with additional support needs.

Talked first about CALL Centre and some of the resources they make available, for example, iPads for Communication Access Literacy and Learning, a free downloadable eBook. A new eBook for supporting children with dyslexia on its way.

Safari browser on iPad has a Reader button to make the text of a page easier to access, as Craig said, “It unclutters it all”. When using Reader, you can change the font size as well as access all the built in iPad tools such as define, copy, speak etc.

Other built in tools make the iPad a great device for pupils with Additional Support Needs. Shortcut to accessibility functions is to triple click on the home button. He demonstrated VoiceOver with a screen curtain on. VoiceOver has transformed the lives of many visually impaired people. He also demonstrated the zoom feature. Assistive Touch makes the volume controls, screenshots, and gestures such as pinch can be made accessible. There are also a growing number of accessories, such as wheelchair mounts, keyboard guards, mouth sticks, switch access tools, etc.

As he ran out of time, he switched to demonstrating, and saying a brief word about, a range of apps. These included:
…And more that I probably missed!

Watch the unedited video of TeachMeet - Craig's section runs from about 12:00 to 22:00. (A ten minute mega presentation!)

Friday, March 22, 2013

IPad Academy

Steve Molyneux (iPad Academy CEO)

student_ipad_school - 233 by flickingerbrad
student_ipad_school - 233, a photo
by flickingerbrad on Flickr.
Started with a history of education. Argued that the industrialised model of education was about automating rather than innovating. He says we are now in the age of the individual with mobile and personal devices. Need to move beyond just automating what has gone before.

Mobile devices are taking over. {From earlier session, Edinburgh predict there will be more mobile devices than PCs in schools by Christmas 2013.} What is preventing use of mobile devices in schools? Partly fear. We want to know we can control. We also want to know they can access and make use of appropriate content.

Do we (as teachers) need to understand the technology in order for children to use it to learn? Sugata Mitra's Hole in The Wall work suggests not necessarily.

Duality equation: ((r+c)/x)t=innovation
Means research plus collaboration when interpreted by a person over time leads to innovation.
In education, it tends not to be called "innovation" - rather. it is called "cheating".

Guttenberg 1.0 - it's just a sheet of paper. But it's what you do with it that makes a difference. Do we write music on it? Do we make an origami model? Do we write an essay...?

Guttenberg 2.0 - it's just a sheet of glass. But how do we use it? Don't look for apps to teach reading. You're a teacher - look for a game and see how you can use that. {Reminded me of Tim Ryland using Myst.}

How do we enhance learner experience and increase learner engagement at the same time? Need to do more than replace existing methods. Move from Exchange, to Enrich, to enhance, to extend and finally empower. Should aim to empower learners - allow the user to not just consume content but to create and distribute it. The tipping point, where things really change is when we change our teaching and start to extend the learning. In the SAMR model, it's at the Modification stage, when we start to do new things, things that couldn't be done before that the tipping point happens.

Examples given of using mind map to plan essay, ComicLife to storyboard. Best example was an eighty-four year old Latin teacher who found an entertainment app that allows you to take a picture and make it into a postcard. {This app perhaps? --DDM} Pupils might be told they were a soldier on Hadrian's Wall and were writing a letter home - had to find picture and create a stamp with the right emperor as well as write in Latin.

Digital story telling. For example, create an eBook after a field trip where audio and video are embedded. Web links are also easy to create. I Can Animate used to animate - example shown was the Calypso video. Or creating a trailer using iMovie - example given was where the classroom was flipped and the children researched the Great Fire and then am a film trailer about it.

GreenScreen FX lets you do chroma key in real time. Mixing technologies - using QR Codes. Every book in the library has two QR codes: one takes them to a blog where they write a review and one to a comprehension test.

Also trialled screen-recorder to highlight and comment on pupils work on the iPad. Pupils we happy for the video marking to be shared with the class. {Used Explain Everything... I think. -- DDM}

NearPod app let's you share a presentation to individual devices rather than to a screen. Software alerts teacher when pupil goes off topic. Can share pupils work/answer.

Mobile platforms are on the rise. Like a high speed train: some are on board, some a on station platforms and will board train soon but some are on the tracks and will be hit!

Need to re-engineer education. Need to give pupils the skills that will let them enhance their learning. Provide a learning environment that matches the functionality of their social environment.

Needs a paradigm shift in classroom practice.

Need to use the tool appropriately.

How do you manage the change?
Need vision to avoid confusion.
Need skills to avoid anxiety.
Need incentives to avoid resistance.
Need resources to avoid frustration.
Need planning to avoid chaos.

Guttenberg 2.0 - Just getting started!

Professional Development

Gillian Penny - Apple Professional Development

Teacher Development in a Post PC Era
Buying the technology is the easy part. Making a difference to pupil education is tricky!

Apple are keen that good use is made of their technology so they have developed material. Hands on workshops that address school needs. Designed to enable educators to transform teaching and learning. Taught by educators not sales team.

Three pillars: pedagogy; content; and technology - the technology shouldn't be bolted on or added extra but part of the process.

Professional Development will be negotiated and personalised for schools by educators. Some money from iPad sales is given to support this education process.

CALL Centre

Paul Nisbet described how CALL centre and SFL more generally have made use of 1:1 technology for years.

"Let me see, let me see; is not the leaf turn'd down Where I left reading? Here it is, I think." by nikkorsnapper
A photo by nikkorsnapper on Flickr.
Pointed out that there are issues about getting access to electronic versions of Scottish text books. Gave the example of a boy who could not access textbooks and they discovered he needed 28 textbooks but none were available electronically. By approaching publishers, they were able to get electronic versions of seven. The rest they had to scan. Of the list of Scottish texts identified for English, none were available electronically.

Challenge 2: Training
What do newly qualified teachers identify as their biggest needs? Number 1 is ICT and number 3 is SFL!

Challenge 3: Accessible ICT
In general, using school equipment is made very difficult because they can't even do something as basic as adjusting the mouse speed because the control panel is locked down. Basics such as text to speech with a Scottish voice (free to schools) is missing. Getting specialist software installed is very difficult.

Challenge 4: Difference
Quality of work is clearly better but pupils may choose not to use because they don't want to be seen as different. For example, in some schools the AlphaSmart device has been re-christened the AlphaThick.

Use of 1:1 devices such as iPads help. They are considered cool. They can be personalised. They are a practical solution - small, light and easy to use. (Apparently iPhone is the most popular smartphone with the visually impaired because can be accessed using the built in tools.) Built in camera and microphone provides great opportunities - especially when we look at a broader definition of literacy.

Less difference - More inclusion.

For SLF, the iPad is a low cost solution - especially with Procurement Scotland prices. ReadWrite Gold for iPad is relatively cheap compared to PC version.

If all students are all using digital resources, more likely that the materials will become available in digital format.

The pace of technological change does cause problems. How do you recommend the best solution when that technology changes on a daily basis. Although 1:1 makes many things easier, there are still accessibility problems and so one size does not fit all and you can easily find yourself back in creating differences.

Edinburgh Digital Learning Team

Jenni Robertson talked about what they did to support the development and deployment of 1:1 model. They set up a blog, Digital Learning Team, to support teachers in the authority. Some great videos (created with VideoScribe) for example: The getting to know the iPad series.

Promote SAMR Model to show enhancement rather than just replace old ways.

{Jenni was hugely enthusiastic, very knowledgable and the blog is a great resource! Really annoyed that I didn't take more notes because this was a really good session. Not sure why I didn't. I guess I was enjoying it too much. -- DDM}

Developing Teachers in a Post PC Era

Anna Love - Apple

The future of books by Johan Larsson
The future of books, a photo
by Johan Larsson on Flickr.
Technology and education - the technology supports and underpins, it's not the focus

2009 - 8.5 million people using mobile technology. By 2011 - 17.6 million mobile users.

Internet use on phone 44% to77% from 2010 to 2011
{May have got years wrong but think percentages are right. -- DDM}
"If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow" 
-- John Dewey
Enabling personalised learning. Children want instant information. Can be more self-directed. Can develop Independent learning. Students need to be able to personalise and take ownership of material. They live in a connected world.

As educators we need to consider the devices, the content and the personalisation. Devices exist and pupils are already using. ITunesU and iBooks already make vast quantities of content available for free. How do we construct courses? How do we enable learners to benefit from this content? How do we personalise it to their needs?

It is all about excellent learning and teaching.

All sorts of positive benefits can accrue. For example, device deployment can lead to closer home/school links. Schools can add content to iTunesU.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Fun On Friday #161: Awkward Family Photos

Having just acquired a new camera (see some photos here) I hope I don't take too many like this:

Family Photo, Anchorage, AK by djwudi
Family Photo, Anchorage, AK,
a photo by djwudi on Flickr.

Find many (many, many!) more on the Awkward Family Photographs site. A quick browse through gives some excellent examples of what not to do! I think my favourite out of the recent entries is Take Me Higher 2. The chap at the back is outstanding!

What about you? Do you have a favourite?

Is there anything to learn from these photos? Attention to detail for one. Looking at the whole frame, not just the bit in the middle for another. And, most importantly, don't take yourself too seriously!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fun On Friday #160: Diplomacy

I like the game board Diplomacy but I don't think I've played it since I was at university. Maybe one day, when I'm not as busy or exhausted, I'll give the world of online Diplomacy a go.

Diplomacy: Game 1 - Round 1 by condredge
Diplomacy: Game 1 - Round 1, a photo
by condredge on Flickr.
Looks like fun.

If you have never played Diplomacy, it is an interesting game. Superficially, it looks like the world domination game Risk but unlike Risk, no dice are involved. In theory, therefore, no luck is involved in the outcome. The way it works is that superior numbers always wins.

The problem is that at the start of the game, no one player has enough power on their own to go head to head with the other player. If you want to win, you have to form alliances (hence the name of the game - Diplomacy). The problem is of course that if you want to win, you will have to break the alliance at some point and strike out on your own. If you break to early, you may not have amassed enough personal power to make it on your own. If you break too late, you run the risk of someone else in your alliance stabbing you in the back and leaving you alone and vulnerable. See the Diplomacy Wikipedia entry for more details.

As I say, a fun game... for a given definition of "fun".

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Computer News Week Ending 11 January 2013

The seniors are on exam leave for prelims but I though the third years still deserved a Computer News spot. So here it is: lumpy flat-screens!

At least one girl was unimpressed with this but I thought it was a really interesting idea. I love using my iPad but would love to try entering text with a tactile, on-screen keyboard like this one from Tactus. The only problem from a teaching point-of-view is that it may make it possible to send texts while the phone is in your pocket again.

As before, there are some brief speakers notes which you can see if you click the wee cogwheel icon in the presentation.

What do you think? Better way to type on a flat screen or useless gimmick that will never take of?

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Better late than never...

Three and a half years ago, I wrote about a folding plug: Fun on Friday #36: Build a better mousetrap...

Finally, I saw it on sale, or at least the USB charger version is on sale at Firebox. Excellent! So, when do I get my jet pack?