Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Google NZ CS Partnership Summit

This week I have been lucky to be part of the first CS Partnership summit in New Zealand, representing NZACDITT. An initiative that was brought to us by the Hutt City Libraries. This brought Google as well as all the main people in New Zealand having an impact of CS education at primary, secondary and some of the tertiary providers that offer CS4HS together to talk about next steps.

It has been a pretty full on day, hearing about the past CS partnership summits, some of the stats from Google about the issues that Australia is facing and the opportunities that this is bringing as well. Hearing about the action that have taken place in New Zealand with the Digital Technologies curriculum at senior levels that other countries would like to have.

A favourite from the “godfather” Tim Bell, is him talking about the computation of finding a route, then adding in 4 more places that you have to go to, then adding in 16 more. How long will that take to find the best route. Considering the amount of calculations that have to be done, there are just some problems that take years to find out. Why is this important, and how does learning Computer Science help with these problems.

The use of parity checks is also shown, and a quick looking back soon finds a bar code that can be tested. The other is a look at human machine interaction and how having a cancel button that is green and a conform button that is orange plays with people into causing them to have not a good experience with a webpage. I wish that he would use some of the examples that have been developed in the to help illustrate some of these to help people see the development of the resource.

Moving onto the stats, how has the development of the Digital Technologies curriculum impacted on the amount of students, number of schools offering these standards. How can we get more school interested in teaching these standards.

The issues of PLD and resources are always quick to be brought up. But these need to be drilled down and given actions and responsibility to someone to help make a difference. That’s what the rest of the day worked towards.

Having lightening talks given by some of the groups at the meeting helped develop an understanding of what are highlights of their offerings, as well as what is making it hard for them. Listening to their ideas and having some feedback from Google really helped to develop an understanding that what they are facing others have done before, and extra conversations would be needed to support them with their longer term strategies. 

Having the moonshot thinking of what are opportunities and barriers really helped, being able to write down what could be carried out if money, time and other barriers were removed. 5 minutes is too short a time to get all ideas written. These were then paired up with someone else and you were able to combine ideas, then working with the table and putting them into categories and ranking them from most important down. This helped everyone start to see opportunities that all groups were facing. Having to vote on what was important to us through dots helped people develop the understanding of what is important to the group.

How to deal with the PLD.
How to communicate better.
The curriculum.
Getting the message out.

The next 50 minutes seemed like it was 5 minutes, ideas on how to deal with these, what were some of the barriers, actions to be dealt with, how could they be validated, developing metrics. 

Then reporting back and having to work on key tasks, developing the actions a bit more, when were they to be actioned, by who, or what group was needed to make it happen.

This has lead to some pretty interesting ideas that are being followed up next week. 

I will make one comment, I thank the teachers and management team at HPSS around the work that they have been doing around developing growth mindsets, working with the students around moonshot thinking. I think that without developing that culture and ideas through the school.

One of the other participants of the summit has blogged about what makes for effective PLD -

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