Tuesday, 31 January 2012

stories from todays news

iPads highlight need for tech-savvy teachers
School is back for most students this week and many will return to class rooms kitted out with the latest gadgets like iPads.
There are concerns teachers might not be able to keep up with their increasingly tech-savvy students, with the Government rolling out ultra-fast broadband to schools across the country.
Knowing how to work the latest technology is becoming increasingly important as many schools are putting iPads on stationery lists.
Education consultant Dr John Langley says those able to use technology has come along in leaps and bounds over the past two decades.
“When I look at the ability that children and adults have to access information today, it's just vastly superior to anything that occurred 10, 20 years ago,” he says.
But Dr Langley is concerned that some teachers may not have moved as fast as the technology has.
“For the older teachers it's much more of a struggle,” he says. “I think in that case, what we do require for them is quite significant ongoing professional development.”
The Government says the biggest issue for schools is getting connected in the first place. It is aiming to give most of them access to ultra-fast broadband within three years and is confident teachers will be ready.
Prime Minister John Key says it is up to the principal of the school to ensure teachers feel comfortable with what they are using.
“Those who are technologically friendly are assisting their other teachers, and there are always training courses that we can and do send teachers on.”
The Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) says professional development in information technology is woefully inadequate. It wants the Government to provide more so that teachers are not being left to struggle on their own.
3 News - http://www.3news.co.nz/iPads-highlight-need-for-tech-savvy-teachers/tabid/423/articleID/241326/Default.aspx


Breakfast on One
This morning on Breakfast - Education: Technology: Costs
Waikato University Education Expert Noeline Wright looks at the growing
pressure on parents to provide children with the latest technology to aid
their learning.

Then there is the issue of Broadband and the Changing Face of Education

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Trying to work out what the difference is...

This came through a post last week, where the author mentioned three different types of teacher.
e-teachers, m-teachers and c-teachers, so what is the difference...

E-teachers are the new generation of teachers who will work in an Internet environment in both regular and virtual classroom situations. They will build new concepts of working in time and space. E-teachers collaborate, build and discover new learning communities and explore resources as they interact with information, materials and ideas with their students and colleagues.


M-teaching- Teaching with the support of mobile, handheld devices.

Doesn't use any devices in there learning at all?

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Shut down or Restart

The Royal Society in Great Britain has just released a ground-breaking new report called Shut Down or Restart: The Way Forward for Computing in UK Schools which clearly demonstrates that the current challenges we face in K-12 computer science education are indeed global challenges..
The work behind this impressive report was carried out by the Computing at School project which did a comprehensive review of computing in UK schools. According to the Royal Society, the key points of the report are as follows:
1. The current delivery of Computing education in many UK schools is highly unsatisfactory. Although existing curricula for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) are broad and allow scope for teachers to inspire pupils and help them develop interests in Computing, many pupils are not inspired by what they are taught and gain nothing beyond basic digital literacy skills such as how to use a word-processor or a database. This is mainly because:
a. the current national curriculum in ICT can be very broadly interpreted and may be reduced to the lowest level where non specialist teachers have to deliver it
b. there is a shortage of teachers who are able to teach beyond basic digital literacy
c. there is a lack of continuing professional development for teachers of Computing
d. features of school infrastructure inhibit effective teaching of Computing
2. There is a need to improve understanding in schools of the nature and scope of Computing. In particular there needs to be recognition that Computer Science is a rigorous academic discipline of great importance to the future careers of many pupils. The status of Computing in schools needs to be recognised and raised by government and senior management in schools.
3. Every child should have the opportunity to learn Computing at school, including exposure to Computer Science as a rigorous academic discipline.

4. There is a need for qualifications in aspects of Computing that are accessible at school level but are not currently taught. There is also a need for existing inappropriate assessment methods to be updated.
5. There is a need for augmentation and coordination of current Enhancement and Enrichment activities to support the study of Computing.
6. Uptake of Computing A-level is hindered by lack of demand from higher education institutions.
The text of this report is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike and you can download the entire report from:
It is well worth reading.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

computer science and obama

I found this youtube video the other day, this looks like it could be a good one to use with the students, to get them to give an explanation why Obama is right, as well as giving an explanation on what other methods could be used.

Also I came across this site http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/courses/teachers_corner/4483.html

In this there are some team problems to be solved using computer science,

They are meant to be done by pairs of students during a class period. I tell my students to try to finish by the end of the period; if they can't, they may complete the assignment for homework and turn it in at the beginning of the next class. Each pair of students (or trio, if you have an odd number of students) turns in one solution, although it may contain one or more pages written by each team member. Each problem is worth 15 points and each student on the team gets the same score unless there is evidence that one student did all or most of the work. An overarching goal of all the problems is to give students experience in working with at least one other person to solve a substantial problem (that is, "substantial" for them at that point in the course). The "larger" nature of the problems lends itself to team solution. In some cases, the problem sheet suggests a way that the two students can divide the work.

Here is a list of the problems.
  1. Averaging Numbers: Write an algorithm for averaging a list of numbers. Focus first on the problem of knowing when the user is finished entering the numbers.

    Objective: To make students think about this standard algorithm before they develop a program for it in subsequent classes or labs

    Prerequisite knowledge: How to input and output numbers; For and While loops

  2. Putting Numbers in Ascending Order: Draw a flowchart for the problem of arranging three numbers in ascending order. Then trace the flowchart using a given set of test data.

    Objective: To have students develop the if-then-else logic required to solve this standard problem before they write the code for it in subsequent classes or labs

    Prerequisite knowledge: How to draw a flowchart with input/output and decision symbols

  3. String Searches: Apply a "brute-force" method to determine if a given string is contained in another string. Then apply the Boyer-Moore algorithm to the same task and note the reduction in the number of steps.

    Objective: To have students apply a search algorithm that is not part of their regular classwork

    Prerequisite knowledge: How to use a pointer to move through a string; comparing characters

  4. Swapless, Pushless Sorting: Develop an algorithm to sort a list of integers into descending order without swapping any values or pushing values up or down.

    Objective: To have students create a sort algorithm that is more efficient than the ones they have learned to code (e.g., Shuttle-Interchange, Bubble)

    Prerequisite knowledge: At least one sorting algorithm, so as to understand the idea of comparing numbers in a list and swapping those that are out of order

  5. Dealing Cards: Develop several algorithms for dealing a deck of cards and storing them in the computer's memory.

    Objective: To have students develop multiple approaches to a problem that underlies numerous card games, including poker and solitaire

    Prerequisite knowledge: How to store data in one- and two-dimensional arrays; random number generation; if-then logic

  6. File Compression: Apply the LZ algorithm to recreate a file from its condensed version and to condense a given file as much as possible.

    Objective: To apply a compression/decompression algorithm to "unzip" and "zip" files

    Prerequisite knowledge: Understanding of the concept of file compression and the LZ algorithm

  7. Seven Segment Display: Apply the techniques of Boolean algebra to design circuitry to run a seven-segment display for one digit (as used for calculators, cell phones, etc.).

    Objective: To apply Boolean algebra techniques to a "real-world" problem that students are familiar with