Yesterday my son and I attended an event organised by Doug Belshaw at the Centre for Life in Newcastle. The title of the event was a #mozparty and there are a number of these been organised across the country and beyond. I must admit as well as wanting to take @minifernal along to let him experience something “different” that he doesn’t experience in school, I was also curious about the whole concept of a hack day and what would be involved. In planning the #digitalstudies curriculum both Brian Sharland and Nic Patterson have talked about having hack days as way of assessing pupils at the end of a project so I went along very open minded.
I have to say from the outset, a big thank you to Doug and all his “awesome” (their real title!) gang not just for organising a great event but also making James very welcome and encouraging his work along the way.
The event itself was very informal with groups of tables set up and a wide range of ages and backgroundse encouraged to plug in and “hack” over a 3 hour period. Doug introduced the event as a hacking day but pointed out that this was a “legal” hack event which allayed the little fellas worries that he may get in trouble with the police
During the course of 3 hours we all used a few Mozilla tools created to encourage coding and digital creation. I have used all the tools before with my students so had a bit of an advantage in terms of using the tools but @minifernal took to them all like a duck to water and loved the idea of creating his own web page from scratch using Thimble, hacking a web page using Hackasaurus / X-ray goggles and also creating his own video using Popcorn.
The fruits of his labour and creative ideas can be seen below:
The look on his face when Doug showcased his work was priceless and we are both very proud of his work. It’s not very often an 8 year old can tell his pals he hacked the Buckingham Palace website and replaced the Royals with characters from Ice Age
One of the many great tools within Timble and also Popcorn are some of the pre created projects which can be edited.
Whilst all the other excellent projects can be viewed on the following ether pad
The idea of a hack day is a lot clearer now in my mind and it is definitely something I want to explore next year in my school. Whether that is at the end of a project or even prior to starting a unit it has great potential to introduce, encourage and foster students knowledge and application of coding in a number of different areas. I have used Thimble to introduce HTML to students and also X-Ray google for the same idea with some great results in the past. Popcorn is relatively new but a groups of Year 9s loved the idea of creating video online and the interface is very straightforward to use. Mozilla have created some great tools which are well worth looking at.
So after an afternoon of hacking we didn’t get arrested much to @minifernal ‘s relief. But he couldn’t wait to show his mum his creations and can’t wait to do some more hacking !
Doug posted a set of photos from the event which you can take a look at here. If there is a #mozparty taking place near you over the holidays I would encourage anyone to go along from the beginner to the accomplished.
Im busy finalising my planning for ICT / #digitalstudies next year at Key Stage 3 and as part of this I’m looking to build on the Viral Videos that my students created this Year and posted on YouTube. If you want to see some of the results please click here and leave a comment
As well as looking at creating Viral Videos about a current news / interest topics, students will be looking at the success/failure of viral videos, the issues of copyright, validity and investigating the rise of YouTube.
I have been trying to gather some statistics about YouTube usage etc over the past few days and have stumbled over a couple of resources which we could use but as yet nothing in the way of a large data set. One summary was on Malcolm Cole’s blog and Carla Pring’s excellent site. I contacted YouTube and the they pointed me in the direction of a summary of their statistics. My students are hoping to anaylse what people watch on YouTube. To assist them with this we have compiled a questionnaire. If you could take 2 minutes of your time to complete the form we would really appreciate it. I will publish the findings and make the raw data available for other schools to use. If the form is not displayed below please click here to open the form and complete it/
Well it’s been just over a week since I tweeted a survey on behalf of my Year 7s. They are currently creating Infographics using Piktochart about the Social Media Revolution. The topic will form one of the units on the soon to be showcased #digitalstudies moodle site. They have gathered some data from the Internet about key facts and also images to put on their Infographics but we wanted to collect some raw data to do some modelling / data handling. I promised them I would try and get some responses but have been overwhelmed with the response with over 100 lovely people submitting the from so far. As promised I am publishing the data in raw format for others to use should they wish. I blogging this while on the move but will hopefully embed the summary of responses later. I’ve included the form, the summary, a link to the spreadsheet and embedded google spreadsheet so have fun Thank you to you all for completing the form, my Year 7s and I really appreciate all your help.
This post title could probably have been prefixed with the word “slowly” as from the outside outside things have appeared a little quiet on the #digitalbadges front from me. But amidst the exam season and planning I have been burrowing away on the whole concept. A while back i blogged about my initial idea of digital badges. While I read a few posts about @openbadges I have to be honest that is as far as my knowledge of digital badges was. What came from that initial blog post has been a lot of research around the whole concept of digital badges with an attempt to look at the idea from an open mind investigating examples, good practice and the pros and cons of the badges. While I am in no way part of the educational higher order of thinking, I do consider myself to be passionate about education and for the students I teach. I don’t want my subject to die, not saying that it will, but looking at all the options on the table, I passionately believe that #digitalstudies has its place within the ICT curriculum, in that it takes all the good things from ICT which we do now and builds in computer studies and computational thinking. At the moment digital studies is still in its infancy, as is the concept of #digitalbadges but I do see an interconnection between both areas in order to move forward. I will apologise now if this blog post goes off at tangents in parts because I am trying to pack in a lot of ideas and thoughts which have been going through my head over the last few months. Hopefully a lot of this will make sense and firm the basis for where the #digitalstudues team see the future of #digitalbadges as not just a concept but a realistic and achievable idea for students. In parts of this post I switch between calling students, learners and the former. The definition of learners is another post I think but I read a quote which summed things up for me in lots of ways
I could try and define this myself but it is perfectly explained below
A “badge” is a digital symbol of recognition that complies with the Open Badge specification. Badges are useful in representing many things such as experiences, achievements, skills, competencies, learning, associations, interests, community involvement, peer interactions, etc. They can function in formal and informal settings and can lead to new learning opportunities, jobs, community interactions, etc. Just like a real-life badge, an Open Badge can represent almost anything, like accomplishments in a class you’ve taken, levels of achievement in an ongoing process, your membership in a club, or your skills as a gamer. The things badges represent do not need to have occurred online: they can represent physical activities such as sports achievements, skills like cooking, etc.
The following are notes and ideas from reading the great Google Doc by Barry Joseph which have shaped my thinking and initial ideas on #digitalbadges
Joseph outlines 6 different examples of using badges, some relevant, some not to #digitalbadges. Below I have tried to summarise each and link to their possible inclusion in our system.
1 Using Badges for “alternative assessment”
This concentrates on evidence based assessment. There are examples of badges being used in response to the fialing of tradiional assessment methods. At present we are somewhat hanging with the withdrawl of the ICT POS. Digital Badges could be used with students recieving both formative and summative feedback for their work/skills they develop. In order for this to be successful a platform needs to be built which links to digital portoflios. Nic has already blogged about b-portfolios within #digitalstudies. Is this a way of renaming existing assessments ot more a case of replacing current assessment models. There is a great opportunity for formative feedback which badges offer within a solid rubric assessment model. I can categorically say now that #digitalbadges will NOT BE USED FOR LEVELS
In the google document there are some great examples of where this has been used such as Media masters which is an after school program where students produced social media products about social and global issues. This fits perfectly with the viral videos project as part of #digitalstudies. In the Media masters project the successful students achieved digital literacy badges at the end of each module assessing. How would we assess this? Formal feedback from the teacher? There is a case for wideinging the net for feedback as commetned by Steve Wheeler and I’m trying this out with the afformentioned Viral Videos topic at the moment. In the Media Masters model assessment is summarised in 2 ways
Skills development (formative assessment)
Collected badges on a final digital trasnsript (summative assessment)
These then combined on a digital portfolio.
2 Using badges for the gamification of education
A lot of my students are gamers, both boys and girls. They are used to the rewards systems on the play station network and also Xbox live. Although I have accounts for both I have dabbled in either area in much detail. In both these systems the awarding of “trophies”/”awards” takes place and is managed outside the playing of the games. For this system to be implemented and used in the classroom students would be rewarded for the design of their “game”. The term “game” could refer to an activity carried out by the students but one of the key factors is the learning environment created. This model although popular in both systems is sufficient reward or motivation for students. We are currently developing a house system in school where this would be relevant but in terms of merits I have found from personal experience that competition between students for such systems are not a motivational tool. I have tried unsuccessfully to implement an online leader board recently for students who were playing retro games in order to understand the mechanics of games design as they learnt how to use both scratch and kodu. In both cases used a google form but lacked the time to develop an online leader board system. Students very motivated to see results of their efforts I lass even though they were only displayed in a google spreadsheet.
An excellent example pointed out by Joseph is the DIG/IT programme developed by LearningTimes. This concentrated on students transferred schools and how they developed digital literacy skills providing a context for them to learn how the Internet could have a positive impact.
Dig/it is described as
“social, game field adventure in digital life” using challenge based quests and badges to recognise and rearward competences and also good behaviour.
The former sounds like a great overall arching basis for the digital studies strands of literacy, authoring, society and technology.
4 – Using badges for “lifelong” skills.
One of the aim’s of digital studies is to
provide a a subject which will introduce pupils to computing and computer science but continue to encourage those pupils who are interested in digital creativity through multimedia as well as continue to provide the digital literacy skills which pupils need. – #digitalstudies wiki
This stand concretes more on metacognitive skills. Initially I floated the idea of digital badges for levels (wrongly) and also for such areas as higher order thinking skills. This area looks at the independence of students and although a valuable and necessary skills I am wary of over complicating things with the #digitalbadges ideas and want to focus more on other areas. Of course this is not saying that we don’t want to cover this in the overall badging system aims.
5 Using Badges as the driving mechanism
This focuses on peer based learning. Where do we see students in the badging framework? When students are aiming to achieve a specific badge how will they achieve this? Will they have to answer questions against specific criteria? Will they upload work which will be assessed? If so who will assess. whilst conscious of the assessment of badges we have to be wary and mindful of the simplicity of the #digitalbadges system. We want schools to sign up and get going with badges but in doing so I needs to be straightforward for both themselves and the students. In some cases some schools will have to report on levels against the old pos and we never know this may be the case when a new POS is finally published but will a teacher commit to assessing a piece of work against a level and also a badging system? I know I will but will others?
6 – The badges to democratise learning
I see this as something very much for the future where students take a role on the development of the badging system and idling so recommend peers for accreditation and maybe becoming a creditors. We have students for 3 years at Key stage 3, how long will this take and could it be the form of digital leaders? Of course the P2P web craft system is based around this and I’m slowly making my way through this. Within the P2P framework , learners collect badges from different areas and then display them across their networks. Interestingly and worth a read is the work of Trent Bateson who argues that central to the badging system should be the peer reviews of e-portfolios.
There is no way an effective badging system can address all six frames and it would be a mistake to even attempt to. One point as pointed out by Barry Joseph -
Badges work within a system, and the system is what transforms the learner, to misquote Cathy Davidson, not the badge itself.
One of the advantages o the open badges system is that allows users to bring their badges into a system that could be then transferred to other systems. One of the key underlying objectives of our system is that I want to be autonomous of any learning platform / system. Once the learner achieves the badge they are free to display it on which every platform they choose, be it a WordPress blog, posterous, google sites, Facebook etc.
From all this research (and there has been a lot!!!) the notes from David Truang referred to in Barry’s Google Doc that
badges need to challenge learners and reward them for overcoming skills based challenges.
is something that has stuck in my mind
Now at this point my brain nearly overloaded with ideas and I have to admit I’ve played with coding a badging system but scrapped it I anger 2 weeks ago. This was after implementing a Drupal system and then other PHP based interfaces. I some ways I felt I’d set myself up for a fall with a number of people not just expressing interest in #digitalbadges but wanting to see a prototype after I promised some form of a system by may half term. On reflection this was unachievable but in terms of the principles of the #digitalbadges system we are in a more advanced stage items of methodology and objectives than we have ever been, rather fortunately I stumbled over a blog post by Erin knight titled The 3Ts of badge systems. This encapsulated a lot of my thinking and made things a whole lot clearer and focused.
Whilst blogging about the development of the #digitalbadges system I felt better about my own experience when reading that someone else had found it tough. Rather than dive straight into a badging system like I had done I had to reevaluate and reclassify a number of different areas. There are lots of things to consider and I got myself caught up with a lot of questions similar to what Erin describes as what badges?. Between the 3 of us Brian, Nic and I along with others including Dan Stucke looked at areas we wanted to concentrate on in a google doc. Principally – which badges did we want to award, what and why. My role is to formulate the how and also come within a realistic roadmap.
We have settled on a 3 levels of badges with. Bronze, Silver and Gold. What we call each level remains unclear as I don’t want to label a learner a beginner even though they have achieved a badge. The word intermediate and advanced aren’t suitable either. As yet this is still up in the air but the notion of the 3 levels is not.
On her blog post Erin outlines the 3ts which have been important to establish before I get buried again in badging decisions and the coding – Types, Touchpoints and Technology.
We will have the following badges
Skill Badges – “rewarding” students for the skills they have developed while studying #digitalstudies
Achievement badges – a ” reward” for the end of project solutions which the students have produced.
I use the term rewards loosely.
This focuses on how students will “earn” badges
Skill badges – awarded on a demonstration of the skills they have developed. This could be assessed against a rubric. Tis raises a number of questions as to who does this assessment, teacher, peer, online system. Alternatively the simple 101 system asks a series of onscreen questions which if answered correctly award a badge which can be then pushed to the student backpack. Is this infallible. A big question and something ongoing but will have an impact on the comes it’s of the solution we come up with.
Achievement badges – based on the projects/products that students complete. The assessment of these is food for thought and something i want to come back to in a later post. There are a number of considerations including the assessment of the products ie who/why and how. One interesting thing I’ve tried with my Year 9 students is their Viral Video work which has been posted on Youtube for feedback. Steve Wheeler blogged on something about students sense of audience yesterday. For this to be robust a set criteria has to be in place but there a boat load of other questions….
This is where i struggled in anger over the past few weeks. However after standing back and also after a great conversation with @solatelee and @prawsthorne today things are a lot clearer and i look forward to setting the wheels in motion over the next few weeks.
I have said repeatedly that i would like the #digitalbadges system to be autonomous of any learning platform but once the badges are issued then they can be displayed via a backpack on the “portfolio” of the schools/students choice. This is still the case. We have badges, we have a set criteria and we have a hosting system. However initially i look forward to working with Peter on an Open Badger idea to get things moving in the right direction before other plans are put into place. This will then inform a timeline for the whole system.
There are a number of drivers and principles which need to underpin a successful system. One of the main ones is a robust assessment framework which can be used to award the badges. I have been very wary and worried about the credibility of #digitalbadges and it is very important that if and when students are awarded a badge or badges it actually means something and can be taken seriously by both their peers, teachers, employers, universities etc. There are a few avenues I have thought about exploring
One of them was based around the @openbadges framework and loosely based on the P2PU programme where students access an issuing platform and and once they meet set criteria they are then awarded a badge. This PNG file can then be displayed or carried on a backpack and then transferred to other platforms to act as a digital resume of their skills.
The other system is loosely based on e-commerce principles with students/teachers logging onto to a platform; should learners achieve a set of criteria they are then presented with a voucher code which they would then use to achieve a badge. This could then be displayed on their digital portfolio.
A third which is not on the road map but an alternative to online issuing would be to provide #digtialstudies teachers with a set of badges and the assessment rubric. Of course this could open a whole number of issues but i will return to that in a later post
I have a number of considerations around this. One of them being students just copying the badges and displaying at will. This would undermine the credibility of the whole system and something I wish to avoid. In a recent conversation with Sunny Lee of Mozilla we talked about this and discussed the principles of building a wall around the certification and awarding of badges but you can only build a wall so high.
The idea of linking to the Open badges framework is the most appealing and something I’m striving to achieve. A number of people have expressed an interest in the #digitalbadges with a wish to see the platform as it stands now. At present this is very much in the development stage as I feel it is important to put in place the underlining principles of the badging system with Erin’s 3 Ts at the core of the design.
One of the first examples we are going to use is Kodu. I recently had a very interesting conversation with a member of the Kodu development team on the principle of #digitalbadges and using them to reward students with badges for the skills they have developed using Kodu and also for the games that the students produce. In order to meet a lot of the core principles of #digitalstudies we are formulating a robust assessment rubric with the help of teachers, Kodu and the #digitalstudies team.
So were are are we now? We are working on “simple” of system to issue badges, we have “baked” a number of badges which can be issued in the skills areas of Scratch and Kodu, we are looking to finalise the assessment rubric of these badges with input from Kodu themselves and we have a sandpit which I plan to work on in the summer term. In the short term I hope to work on the issuing engine in more detail and “link” into the Open Badges framework with the help from the wonderful Mozilla team. A lot of food for thought to ponder and keep me busy over the summber term.
In some ways I suppose this is an apology to those expecting me to deliver a system by half term. I took a step back last week on the coding of the issuing engine to concentrate on the key principles behind the badging system to ensure its long term success. I hate to use the words road map (bsf tinged) but i’m looking to pilot the badging system at some point during the summer term for successful implementation in September 2012. I stubbornly worked on the system with the shutters up and got frustrated but now the way is clear for a very exciting system.
One conclusion I have come to is that in order for our #digitalbadges system to be a long term success it is not as simple of awarding a badge for Video skills, Scratch skills etc There needs to be a number of key elements which underpin our badge system to ensure its longevity. These are that it needs at least
a robust assessment rubric for each badge
a stepped approach for skills sets
it “rewards” the skills gained/learned while studying #digitalstudies
a fully working issuing engine
These are exciting times for both #digitalstudies and #ditigalbadges for the whole concept it also the forthcoming work with Kodu. I never thought I would ever thank Mr Gove for lambasting the teaching of ICT and I’m not about to start now but it certainly has sparked a number of us into some great initiatives which will not only have a positive impact in the classroom but also raise its profile back to a credible level it deserves.
As I have said previously, a lot of this work is being done in my spare time alongside planning and producing resources for the #digitalstudies Moodle site. Key dates will be the Northern Grid for Learning Conference and Rethinking ICT where I hope to speak more about the development and plans for #digitalbadges.
I have to say my thinking behind #digitalbadges has moved on significantly from my initial thoughts I blogged about and the tweets that took place in the weeks following. I am still looking for an alternative assessment model for #digitalstudies and #digitalbadges I firmly the best way of achieving this. I want to say a big thank you to those people who contributed to my initial google document and provided me with a lot of inspiration and ideas for how the idea of #digitalbadges could be implemented and moved forward successfully. Oh and of course Brian and Nic – my fellow #digitalstudies musketeers
If you wish to find out more information about #digitalstudies and #digitalbadges please let us know.
Please feel free to comment on this blog post or get in touch via @infernaldepart
On a number of different levels I constantly look to develop independent thinking skills with my students through a range of different strategies. More recently at the forefront of this has been my investigations in Solo Taxonomy and also the area of computational thinking. Over a year ago I started the following crowd sourcing idea with teachers contributing their own ideas/experiences of developing their student thinking skills. If you have any more to add please do so or use some of the ideas already contributed. Please don’t feel restricted to thinking skills strategies/ideas that involve ICT! The more the merrier………..
As part of their infographic unit, my Year 7s are gathering data about the use of social media. In just 2 days we’ve had over 20 responses from my PLN on twitter, we are hopefully aiming for a sample of 100 They collectively drafted the questions and I promised them I would try and get as may respondants as possible to complete the google form. Please take 2 minutes to complete the form below, we would really appreciate your help. I will publish both the infographics and also the data set should others want to use the data. If the form fails to load please use this link
I was lucky enough to receive a new Raspberry Pi this week after ordering it a few months ago. I’m not one to gloat about anything but I got a few envious replies on twitter from a few people. So with a welcome break on the horizon I looked forward to getting the little devil up and running.
I’ve read with interest, numerous articles about the Pi being the future of technology and also most notably the future of ICT / Computing teaching. Before I explore these in a little detail, I think it’s useful to just document the set up of the Pi.
In terms of hardware I ordered mine from http://uk.farnell.com/ A few months ago. I opted to go without the SD card so I received only the Pi itself
Additional hardware required to get the little thing up and running consisted of:
Mobile phone charger
In my case I opted for a USB hub to free up one of the USB slots (hopefully this will make sense later in another post).
One downside is that the only compatible “monitor” in my flat is my LCD tv which is fine but I needed to acquire a longer ethernet cable in order to reach the Wireless router located in my hallway.
There are a number of starter guides for the Pi and some others may find useful
Before plugging everything in and powering up, I downloaded the PI OS from And then used Windows Image installer to write the OS to the Flash SD card. Not as easy as it sounds especially when in school with the inability to download or run exe files but once home everything worked finally in the end.
All good to go and fired up, my 8 year old and I sat and waited for the bios screen to kick in and of course it did. In the first instance the keyboard and mouse were not recognised but @sharland had encountered the same issue so we removed, rebooted and then reinstalled.
This then prompted for a username and password. The documentation i saw gave me one to try but with a bit trial and error using raspberry as the password and pi as the username, things began to move along. Excitedly my son expected to see a GUI interface straight away but was very excited to write his first line of code startx which kicked in the GUI.
This is the finished result proudly displayed on my TV
I’ve tried to assess the PI from a few different perspectives. Mainly and foremost from an ICT perspective. In terms of providing students with affordable hardware and giving the opportunity to build something it is ideal. Of course this is you can get hold of one. With all the hype surrounding the Pi from Gove to Schmidt the demand has been very higher with one person remarking that they had registered there interest but found they were 600,000 in the queue with one retailer. This is a massive issue for schools who are looking to get things moving in the short term. We are looking to pilot GCSE computing from September and a set of 15 of these would be ideal but we are very unlikely to receive them in time. Of course there are alternatives on the market and more on the way.
In giving students the opportunity to experience computing first hand the PI is ideal with the opportunity to code using Python and other interfaces.
From the point of view of my 8 year old his initial excitement was dulled by the inability to watch IPlayer and play flash games on his favourite site Friv. This of course is not what the Pi is designed for and I would argue is it a multimedia device for streaming content or using in classrooms for anything other than coding and learning UI such as multimedia and graphics creation.
So has this experience dampened my initial excitement about the Pi? The answer would be a firm no. It has given me more impetus to refresh my programming skills, get to grips with python again and try a few ideas we could use the Pi in the classroom. Do I think they will replace PCs in the classroom? No. There is still a place for both IMHO. Are they a solution for other subject areas? No. Will it revolutionise ICT teaching? No but it is a very useful tool to add to the toolkit when teaching Computing / ICT / #digitalstudies.
These are only a few initial observations and I will hopefully have a few more as I get more chance to try out a few things. There have been other blog posts about the Raspberry Pi including
Some 2 months after I blogged about the proposed use of infographics things have moved on somewhat. As proposed and planned my Year 7 are beginning to develop their own infographics using Piktochart. This east to use tool is great and students have taken to it really well, liking the intuitive design and I’m looking forward to publishing the finished results soon. Newcomers to Piktochart can check out a couple of videos I’ve found as a great introduction.
My Year 10s are currently developing websites about Digital Footprint using WordPress as part of their BTEC IT and have been researching different ways to present information. They use twitter for home learning activities and also AFL as i have blogged about before, but they came up with some great examples of infographics along the way. Here are just some of them:
They are currently using the resources on My Web My Way from the BBC to create infographics about web accessibility. Hopefully prove to a colleague of mine that infographics are not “glorified posters”
In the Year 10 project they have chosen between Piktochart and Infogr.am. Whilst Piktochart is a great tool, one issue raised by my students is this inablity/unclear aspect of adding their own graphics to their infographics. Infogr.am has this feature. One downside for some schools would be that to log in to Infogr.am a Facebook or Twitter account is needed and the end result is not an image file but an embeddable image
I will publish some of the examples after half term to compare the results.
Last January I was introduced to infographics while attending the Learning Without Frontiers conference in London. Among many highlights including Evan Roth was the session delivered by David McCandless the author of Information is Beautiful, I have since bought his wonderful book but I was astonished about how data can be be visualised and have taken a keen interest ever since. One of the many great visualisations from Information is Beautiful is the Left v Right infographic
With another one being the demographics of social media users
I was going to include the great visualisation about what is censored in China but was ironically blocked by my managed service
There are a number of great websites for Infographics as well as Information is Beautiful such as:
Of course there is a also great way of representing data via video using the Debtis UK video which is a given for me in demonstrating the power of infographics and visualisations.
I want my students to be not just consumers but creators in ICT / computing / digital studies.
I have set my year 10 homework this week to find ANY infographic they can which does not have to be related to ICT. They have / will tweet a link to it and explain it to the rest of the class on Monday. The main aim is that students are creating a WordPress site about digital footprint and I want them to gather data from their peers and beyond. This is then going to be represented individually as an infographic which will be embedded on their site.
Last week with my year 13s we used this infographic about download speeds as students have to.
In order to achieve distinction criteria students are required to
Evaluate the impact of evolving output mediums on the design and creation of graphic images
After initial discussion they then compared and contrasted a mobile site and a full site in order to look at design and content. Using Hyerle’s Double Bubble map first individually and then as a group we came up with the following.
Then individually students where then required to discuss the impact of different output mediums when designing graphics for the web.
My year 8: are embarking on their Kodu project. I have already developed this course for #ictcurric using the great resources produced by Nikki Maddams. For homework students were required to define online identity theft in 140 characters exactly. We then discussed the wide range of answers before looking at this infographic.
Students then came up with their own examples from the tv series Friends and Family Guy where identity theft has been covered.
So far they have been a great way to engage with learners and great for giving them the opportunity to understand data presented in a more user friendly way.
Now this is where I had come to a brick wall in the class. I have been looking for my Year 7 and 10s to be able to create their own infographics. There are a number of websites around who offer the tools to create your own. One recommended by many is http://visual.ly/ which allows you to create an infographic from your data linked to various things such as your Twitter and Facebook Account. For example I created the following for my twitter account
This isn’t something or anywhere near what I was looking for especially for my Year 7s.
Rather than looking for online tools I have been looking for the most efficient and dare I say it easiest way for students to create their own infographics. One idea was for students to model either using their own or exiting data in Excel (or anything similar) and then grab this image and use Photoshop / Fireworks do generate the whole image. Of course students are required at Key Stage 3 to combine tools and techniques for Level 4 and onwards but some of my classes in Year 7 are low ability and this would create more problems than solutions and I’m looking not just for a great visualisation but a short and snappy project.
This tutorial uses Adobe Illustrator to create an infographic. The step by step instructions are very easy to follow and my “test” bed of students who come into my room at lunchtime after created some good solid infographics.
We are lucky in school to have the CS3 suite which Illustrator is part of. The next project for my Year 7s and 10s is to create infograhics using Illustrator so i look forward to seeing how things progress.
In a nutshell I have to say the Infographics are a FAD idea in my classroom – “Flippin’ Amazing Development!!” and i am really looking forward to seeing how this project develops and sharing some of the infographics my students create
This blog post was inspired after listening to the CAS Flashmeeting round up this week with Mark Clarkson, where a discussion took place about problem solving and introducing computer science at key stage 3.
As a teacher am I supposed to know all the answers? While training for my PGCE some 17 years ago I was told by my tutor never to admit I didn’t know the answer and if asked something I didn’t know, to respond with “I will get back to you”. Some years later and a little greyer I have come to the conclusion that as an ict/it/computing/digitalstudies teacher this isn’t going to help my students progress.
I blogged last week about students being better prepared to succeed by learning how to fail better. At present I am writing a number of resources as part of the digital studies pilot. At the core of this is project based learning and as I have planned and researched each unit this also involves the principles of computational thinking.
Is it better to admit you don’t know the answer but challenge students to solve the problem themselves and/or work with them to troubleshoot the issue. I firmly believe yes. There has been much publicity around the huge number of educational initiatives introduced by the current government. Whilst my opinions on the current secretary of state for education are clear his criticism of ICT has certainly spurred me to respond by joining the #digitalstudies initiative. I do not have an ICT degree or computing background in education. My degree is in economics and my PGCE focused on Economics, Business Education with a little ICT. Once I qualified I then worked for a council in the North East of England, training council employees, local communities and businesses in ICT packages and skills from basic to advanced word processing, HTML and programming. This gave me the toolset to then confidently return to the classroom and teach ict in KS3 to KS5 and Computing at A Level. Whilst I don’t profess to know all the answers I do know that I’m a very competent subject “specialist” in a subject that is about the past, the current and the future. As Julia Skinner so eloquently put in her purposed post yesterday, we are like sponges who soak up knowledge and as a teacher, I share that to engage and enhance the teaching and learning experience in my classroom.
When students use Scratch or Kodu to sequence events in gaming, I challenge them not only to provide solutions but also improve current games. Through peer activities they use Lino.it to help each other out on issues. They set their own success criteria for their projects and regularly review their own and peers work. If they want to know an answer to a problem then is it wrong to say google search or check YouTube, because I know I do if I have an issue with WordPress for example.
As a competent teacher I feel its is important to challenge my students to overcome errors / issues and work with them to become more better problem solvers. Someone as part of the CAS discussion mentioned a strategy where students were told only to put their hands up to tell the class they have found a solution. I don’t personally feel this is a viable strategy for all as i constantly challenge my students to ask why, be it if they are unsure or are stuck. Of course i may not know the answer but work with students to find a solution so they can be better prepared too tackle and troubleshoot in the future.
This may not be the case in other subjects but in mine I feel that my students become better learners not by knowing everything but by being willing to want to know everything.
The following is my contribution to the Purpos/ed #500words campaign. After reading not just this month’s thought provoking and well argued contributions, but also last year’s , I post this short note with some hesitancy. Each and every one of the posts, so far, have struck a chord with me and although I drafted this blog post some 2 weeks ago and there have since been a number of blog posts dealing with the same issue, I thought it might still be worthwhile sharing my thoughts on the topic with you – and so here goes ……..
What is the purpose of education?
As an educator and a father I believe it is important to prepare my students and my son for life’s pitfalls and successes. As much as we value and take pleasure in the successes gained through academic and other accomplishments, we all encounter “failures” along the way. I believe that in order to cherish and value the successes we need to prepare students to fail, or rather, to fail ‘better’ so that they can strive more effectively for success.
My son loves school and football. His passion for both holds no bounds – and he works hard in both the classroom and on the pitch. When he struggles at school, we tell him that as long as he tries his best, that is all that counts – which is what my parents told me. Of course, it might be argued that football is a different matter. I think not and tell him that there is only one thing worse than a ‘sore loser’ and that is an ‘ungracious winner’.
I feel we should encourage students to deal with their learning failures and to learn from them – be it when coding a website, writing code or developing a digital product.
‘Learning to fail better’ which could be rewritten as ‘Critical analysis’ is, of course, not exclusive to ICT, but applies to the curriculum as a whole. Students need to be shown how to deal with failure and learn through these failings. We shouldn’t be avoiding failure, but should meet it head on.
‘Project Based Learning’, encourages students to acquire and develop ‘self-critique skills’ as well as skills in receiving and dealing with ‘peer- feedback’. Without doubt, giving and receiving realistic, mature and measurable feedback is a crucial skill. As Ron Berger says in his admirable book “Ethics of Excellence”:-
“If you’re going to do something, I believe, you should do it well. You should sweat over it and make sure it’s strong and accurate and beautiful and you should be proud of it”
Ken Livingstone, after losing the 2012 mayoral election, poignantly said, that the “children of today are the first generation[in the post-war years] to be worse off than their parents.” It would seem, therefore, that the skill of ‘learning from failure’ has never been so important or relevant to young people as they attempt to deal with the ‘worrying and challenging times’ in which they find themselves.
So – in a nutshell, I guess the message of this blog post is – that educators should encourage students to think for themselves and challenge them constantly asking ‘ WHY?’ – why doesn’t it work? why should I do it differently? What should I do and how? As educators, we should enable our students to think for themselves and make the choices which best suit them and their route to success.`