I decided that this was the year that i would head overseas. I missed seeing my brother when he lived in Melbourne a number of years ago, and my other brother now lives in Adelaide.
I decided that I wanted to go and see him while he was over there, and since being a school teacher, the only way I am going to be able to do that is during school holidays. A quick search, I found all the cs4hs projects happening in the world http://www.cs4hs.com/projects/ I found that there was one happening in the October school holidays.
Booking flights, trying to get a passport and converting money to aussie dollars has been a bit of a rush, but well worth it. I just have to make sure that I do not misplace my passport.
However, The University of Adelaide brought in a couple of hundred students in 2011 when the quakes close the University of Canterbury. Doing my current EDEM626 paper also meant that I am able to use a system called eduroam, https://www.eduroam.org/ which allows me to connect to the wifi network using my credentials from the University of Canterbury. This is an awesome idea, and one that I hope that N4L would be able to look at as part of its network for learning. The ability for a teacher to login to another school when doing Professional Development, it means that the teachers has access to their material, and brings in an opportunity to use the tools that are being provided with the network.
The first day we looked at AppInventor, and also got to use our programs with the Nexus 7. It is quite nice to complete a program and shake the device to get a ding sound and action on the screen.
Also got given a book from the day on more projects that could be done with AppInventor than just the tutorials.
Day two looked at computational thinking, as well as some csunplugged activities. This allowed for a chat on why computational thinking could be part of the schools curriculum, though is it just another way to deliver problem solving skills through the use of technology.
Moving onto the processing programming language, this look interesting and is more like the old logo, however you are stating shapes and sizes, and you can still do repeats, conditional statements. It might be interesting to try this with a year 9 class. I note that there is a khan academy course that could be useful in delivering content.
Also shown was a alternative to NXT, called enchanting. This is a BYOB alternative of scratch. Getting students familiar with scratch and being able to take this further could be a possibility.
I must say interacting with other teachers and hearing the stories and issues that they are facing, maybe across the ditch isn't the answer.
I also got talking to the CS students that came into help. They were interested in the csfieldguide and loved the videos that have been produced that put the concepts of computer science through a different spin. They loved what is happening in New Zealand and would loved to be kept informed on what is happening over the other side of the ditch.