Where did the months go?

It has been a crazy couple of month since I started my semester this year and now I’ve only got 9 weeks left.  I have been so busy working on my curated collection that I have forgotten to mention it on my blog.

For EDP4130 we were to create a curated collection that consisted of a minimum of 12 resources we could use for technologies lessons in our classrooms.  These resources had to align with the Australian Curriculum: Technologies (ACARA, 2014) content descriptors and elaborations.  We were then to use the seek, sense, share framework to our curation and work on sharing each one with our PLN – Professional Learning Network.  The platform I chose to use was PearlTrees, which I found very easy to use.  It had it’s flaws, such as not being able to hyperlink the site links in the annotated section, but it was a great tool to use.

I have had to complete my curated collection a little early than what would be acceptable, but here is a link to the finished product.  My collections focus is on Sustainability, Science and Technology and it can be found at http://pearltrees.com/p/cMZ2n   This hyperlink will open a new window at which you can view the completed collection.  Please feel free to comment on the resources I have chosen.  Another downfall of PearlTrees is that to comment you must have an account, but it is free to have an account so I would appreciate all the comments I can get.

Kind regards,

Teresa.

Now the serious part.

A fellow colleague, Corrine Owen, shared about her learning experience with coding and the use of Scratch from the developer.  The video encouraged me to not give up hope.  He talked about how his 83 year old Mother even attempted to use it after he shared several Mothers Day cards with her.  At present I am doing this all in one week, but given the opportunities to work with Scratch a little bit longer and allow my creativity to flow, I may even produce some amazing pieces of coding myself. I have a limited knowledge about what coding is and after watching and reading Corrine’s work, I was prompted to dig a little bit deeper about how this would benefit students in our classroom.  The pending Australian Curriculum: Technologies (2013) states in the rationale “the ubiquity of digital technologies provides new ways of thinking, collaborating and communicating for   people of all ages and abilities. A comprehensive education in Technologies provides opportunities for students to progress from creative and directed play through to the consolidation of knowledge, understanding and skills.”  Furthermore it explicitly states in the aims of the Australian Curriculum: Technologies (2013) that students will “investigate, design, plan, manage, create, produce and evaluate technologies solutions.”  The validity of coding and programs like Scratch is strongly supported by several of the achievement standards for various levels in the scope and sequence on the Australian Curriculum: Technologies (2013).

I started out with a negative attitude to coding and how to fit technologies into an already fully crammed curriculum.  However seeing the following YouTube video inspired me.  This is the path our students are going to need to take to increase their chances for employ-ability and it is our responsibility as educators to adopt these practices and introduce our students to coding programs similar to Scratch.  Here’s the YouTube video I was talking about.

Why Our Kids Must Learn to Code.

Digging deeper I found this video that shows a group of people who work with kids outside of school, teaching them coding.

Code for Kids.

This group of people work to help kids to learn and then spread the word to their friends.  I hit Google and searched for Coding for kids and came across a site called Coder Dojo.    This is a global organisation and I even found a group that met about 5km from my home.  There are opportunites for members of the community to get involved by attending a program, mentoring at a dojo or starting your own program.  School across the US and the UK are developing programs in and out of the classroom to encourage students to learn about coding.  Coding for Kids: Schoolchildren Learn Computer Programming is an article written by Jessica Salter (2012) in The Telegraph.  Salter (2013) discusses Code Club established by web designer Claire Sutcliff and web programmer Linda Sandvik at De Beauvoir Primary School in east London.  Likened to Coder Dojo, many schools are offering opportunities for children to get a head start on learning coding. Hour of Code’ to teach kids as young as 5 to program. So, armed with all this information I start to ask myself how can I develop a deeper knowledge of coding?  How will this help me as a teacher?  What are Australian schools doing to incorporate and integrate coding opportunities for our students?  Does Queensland Education block the use of such sites to be used on Queensland classroom computers?  What voice do I have to make this happen and do I have enough knowledge of coding to instigate programs like Coder Dojo into the school where I work?  My journey into understanding coding and using programs such as Scratch has just begun.  I am sure that I have only just skimmed the surface, but it is something that I will be thinking of as I progress through this course. Cheers, Teresa. REFERENCES:

 

Australian Curriculum Assessment And Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (2013, February). Draft Australian Curriculum: Technologies. Retrieved February 24, 2014, from http://consultation.australiancurriculum.edu.au/Static/docs/Technologies/Draft%20Australian%20Curriculum%20Technologies%20-%20February%202013.pdf

Canadians Connected. (unknown). Code For Kids. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnvpqNo5qwA

CNet News. (2013, December 5). Hour of Code to teach kids as young as 5 to program. . CNet News. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDejnYSeEEk

CoderDojo. (unknown). CoderDojo. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from http://coderdojo.com/#zoom=3&lat=48.9225&lon=-35.15625&layers=00B0T

Heninger, M. (2013, March 1). Why Our Kids Must Learn to Code. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STRPsW6IY8k

Salter, J. (2013, November 23). Coding for kids: school children learn computer programming. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from The Telegraph: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnvpqNo5qwA

Not sure if I will ever design a computer game.

Day two of using scratch and today’s activity involved creating a racing car game.  After my several successes yesterday I was determined to give it a good crack.  Little did I know I would be the one to crack.  This program is really hard and has me questioning the effectiveness of using in the classroom.  Already this morning I have been sitting here for 2 hours trying to make my stupid little car travel over the little red line.  It only has two corners to take and do you think I can make it work?  No.  It just sits there and looks at me and goes all over the place.  Nothing I have done is making it work and I’m beginning to question my ability to make Scratch a tool I would confidently use in the learning environment.

It was at this point I did a bit of a Google search and found instructions that were slightly different to the ones in the learning activities provided by my lecturer.  These ones made more sense to me.  I don’t know if it was because they were a more detailed  and had an audio that allowed you to see what was happening as the person constructed their race course.  After a little bit of fiddling and a little more frustration I finally figured it out.  I don’t know if Scratch is a lesson in patience or perseverance, but whatever it is….I am not sure if I can do this kind of stuff.  Thank heavens that this is the beginning of the course and my learning.  Here’s a link to the videos I found in case, like me, you are slowly pulling your hair out with Scratch.  Help to do racing game

Please let me know if the link doesn’t work.  Good luck.

Cheers,

Teresa.

So here we are once again.

Today saw me embarking on my final semester at uni.  Yes it is going to be busy.  Yes I am completely crazy for completing two professional experiences (pracs) in one semester.  But I need to finish this degree for my health and my family.  It has been a crazy adventure and one that I have learned a lot, both about myself and my abilities, as well as academically.

One of my final two courses is a Technology course.  This does involve ICT’s but it’s not just about ICT’s.  This is a new adventure in learning for me.  Technology is a “distinct field of human activity.  It’s about meeting human needs and wants and is influenced by our values and beliefs” (Albion, 2014). So to keep track of what I am learning and the activities that I am participating in, I have dug up my old blog, given it a new name and am about to embark on my Technological discovery.

As I have said before I believe in stretching myself each semester and trying something new.  However I see this course like a brides wedding day.  I plan on having something old (this blog); something new (new technologies that I will be using and learning about), something borrowed (ideas, articles etc that I collect throughout my journey into technology), and something blue (not sure about this one yet, but hopefully it wont be my head from hitting it on the wall so much with all the new technology).

So with all that in mind……meet my Scratch Sprite.  Scratch Sprite

This little kitty has caused me some grief and has allowed me to share in the simple things of drawing a box, a box with a triangle in it and the success of turning that box into a box with a triangle ON TOP of it.  This may not sound like much, but it is to me.  You see I’m what they call a slight technophobe.  However, I embrace technology and all that it has to offer and because I am so stubborn, I will not give up.  I will battle it through until I can make it work. I have only completed a few activities on Scratch so I will post more as I try to battle my way through with this cat.  Just thought I would get the ball rolling with what I have learnt today.

Cheers,

Teresa.

So this is it…..

Tonight will more than likely be my last blog.  Well for a while.  I have enjoyed blogging and will definitely be using this as a tool later.

It has been a bit of a rough semester and I am so very tired.  It seems that this course and another course that I am doing both set their assignment due dates on the same day and both had 3 big assignments.  I have learnt a lot and still have so much more to go when it comes to ICT integration and knowledge.  But I am an open book and I will continue to be F.A.T – Flexible Adaptable and Teachable.

So for now thank you to all who supported and encouraged me along the way.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.

All the best.

Teresa. (Mrs Morgan.)  🙂

Glass in the future.

Week 15 had us looking at our future.  We watched a YouTube clip about Glass and while it looked cool it really didn’t explain what Glass was.  Then we watched A Day Made of Glass 2.  All I can say is WOW!  It is hard to imagine how it might be to live in a society like this.  Click the picture below to view the clip.

A day made of glass 2 pic

As someone who will be turning 40 this year, I remember the uproar that went on when the walkman first came out.  It was going to cuase accidents with kids listening to their walkman so loud and not hearing traffic.  I can remember when the VCR came out and computer games and hearing how these were going to not be good for kids, they would be fat and lazy.  Now I see this, I can understand why people had that reaction.  Any new technology can cause people to panic, for a many number of reasons.  We don’t like change, we don’t like being “out of control” of a situation.  I can see that if, no when, this comes into fruition I will probably feel the same way.  But then I look at how this technology might help in the classroom.  no longer will we need to set classrooms up so that students can see the board, they will have everything in front of them.  No longer will we need to stress about homework not getting done and left on the kitchen table at home, it will all be uploaded and downloaded when you walk through the classroom door.  Rolls will be marked automatically as students walk through the door.  Then to think that my kids can have real life examples of what life would have been like hundreds, even thousands of years ago, wow!  I might be seeing this when I am old and grey and I may have a complain about how books are going to be made obsolete blah, blah, blah I will enjoy this time.

 

My blogging future.

I belong to a support group on Facebook of students who are currently enrolled in EDC3100 – ICT and Pedagogy.  This group has been my support, strength and shoulder to cry on over this semester.  Karen, a fellow student, has already mentioned a question that another peer had asked on this Facebook group – would we continue to blog after this course had finished.  Karen gave a great description of why people chose to blog and stated “after my break I might just find I will continue to blog. You never know? After all there is something to be said for the difference in wanting to and having to be a blogger.”  And I couldn’t agree more.

I have enjoyed blogging and I can’t wait to integrate this digital tool into my classroom.  I still have so much more I would like to learn and I am going to spend a good chunk of my holidays reading more from the Primary Tech blog that Kathleen Morris has written to help teachers set up a class blog.  If you are considering using a blog for you class, then might I suggest having a look over Kathleen’s blog.  She has some great ideas about how to start it and tools that you can utilise to be able to do so.

So for me I will keep on blogging my little heart out.  I may not write every week, but I will write.  I want to document my journey in becoming a teacher so that I can reflect back and look over some of the people who have touched my life during this time.

 

How to use post it notes on your computer.

I have learnt something new.  Yes it is true, you can teach an old dog new tricks.  I have learnt that I no longer need to spend $3 write messages for me to remember on little yellow pieces of paper which get stuck all around my computer screen to remind me I have to do these things.  I can do this all on my computer.

My mentor uses them all the time on her computer.  It is really very handy and super easy to do.  All you need to do is click on your start menu (not sure if it is the same for a Mac though), click on all programs.  This will then bring up another box, click on the file marked accessories.  You will see a tab marked “sticky notes”.  If you click on this you will be able to see a little note come up which you just type in what you need and leave it.  When you shut your computer down it still stays on your desktop.  It doesn’t interfere with any other programs or applications on your computer and stays at the back of anything you have open like word documents etc.

Its an awesome tool and very handy for busy teachers who have things to remember all the time.

Wow…..has it really been that long?

It has only just dawned on me that in the rush to the end of semester I have not blogged much.  I have had a learning time on prac and am thankful for the experiences I had there.  At the end of my prac my mentor suggested I spend a little time of reflection with the students and allow them to share what they thought were great parts of my teaching and what parts weren’t.  I appreciate the honesty of the students and the way they felt “safe” enough to share their thoughts and ideas with me.  Some of them were great and some were just so darn cute.

I had an email sent to me from my mentor in regards to one of the students who has ASD.  It was difficult for him to have me teach and we had many lessons where the student would just sit and say to me “this is stupid”, “I don’t want to do it”.  I felt that I would not be able to connect with this student because if I pushed myself onto him, it would just cause more problems.  I have had some experience with ASD students in childcare and in my personal life and know that sometimes they just need some space.  I left prac feeling very deflated and upset that I had not been able to build a relationship with them.  However the email I recieved on the Monday after prac said that this student had said “I want Mrs Morgan to come back.”

Wow…I was sure excited and happy to think that I had made that connection but I just didn’t get to hear it from them.  Sometimes we need to be mindful of students with ASD and remember that sometimes they just need some space.  We should never force ourselves on students.  I took the time to learn what this student enjoyed doing outside of school and what their strenghts were in the classroom.  That was the extent of our relationship….and that is fine.

Forehead slap moment.

Don’t you just love it when you come back from a hard prac and you are reflecting on ways that you could have used some of the things you have learnt in a course into your lesson plans.  Then you read over some of the amazing experiences and resources that your peers have done and you realise that you too could have used them.  That is called a forehead slap moment.

Karen Willis, a fellow student, shared a xtranormal video that she had made for a year 1 science assessment task.  It was in that moment that I slapped my forehead and thought about all the times that I too, could have used this tool for my lessons.  It was hard having to do PowerPoint presentations for everything and with the stress of making lesson plans and staying up till 12am each night doing “teacher jobs” I quickly forgot about these kinds of things that I could use.  I have now written myself a sticky note so that I will remember for next prac to use these resources.  Thanks Karen for the reminder.  🙂