Saturday, 21 November 2015

Getting back to Juniors

This year has seen a large change in what I have focussed on. Getting used to a Innovate Learning Environment and using Innovate Learning Practices. But what it has also allowed me to do is focus on Juniors. We have no senior students really this year. It has allowed me to rethink my ideas about what Junior Technology programs allow and what can be done with them. I have not been bogged down with the issues of NCEA for my students, it has been something that has been on my radar to do for a while is to rethink what junior technology programs might look like with the changes now implemented to NCEA Technology and Digital technologies. What might these look like in the future?.

At the junior levels we are developing an understanding of the three strands of Technology, we are not getting them to write a university paper.
I have students developing skills and understanding through their work, but not all of it is written, getting students to develop their ideas and present them to me through one on one conversations. Group Conversation, Now I know what others are saying, Oh, where is the time... We have changed the timetable to allow that, developing new ideas in how to present. Why is it always an individual piece of work that is being assessed, why can't it be a group piece. I have students working on a greenwall as part of sustainability at the moment, they have looked at inquiry, planning and collaboration through technological modelling. The report and the feedback are around how they have worked as a group. Not an individual. How have the communicated their ideas, not how well have they done individual planning, because half the time that has been done by the teacher in the first place. How do we get students developing the concepts of the strands when everyone talks about being time poor. Lets get creative, I love the ideas that come through this group about change. When I asked about what the does the future of the subject look like, great ideas, but why are we talking about these as a future, why are they not a now.

Students have the technology at hand, they are sitting in front of them every digital technologies class. BYOD, mobile phones, photos, videos are all valid forms of evidence.

I know a number of people will be frustrated at what I have written here. But I am frustrated. We need to be thinking smarter, and getting our students prepared for a world that is under change. Not for something that existed in 2007.

All the strands can be covered through digital technologies, but it doesn't mean that you have to spend an entire term covering that one strand.
Tech modeling could be being done through a digital media outcome. I currently have students creating paper prototypes for an app to support their PE class in which they are working towards action, developing through a couple of lessons.
Technological systems through programming and computer science.
Get a student to develop a program will require some form of planning and brief development. For example.

They are not in depth NCEA assessments, it is around using teacher judgement around the indicators of progression. It is around developing and knowledge to support the students learning and understanding. And they have fun doing it. Getting a student doing paper prototypes had them talking, collaborating, seeking feedback for an hour and a half, they want to continue developing prototypes next week developing the functional reasoning behind there design, as well at the practical reasoning. Using 

We do not have specific year 9 classes, we call them the foundation years where year 9 and 10 are together in all classes and work towards different curriculum levels on where they are at.

Topics we cover
The whole school works under a theme for the term. Here is what we are covering each term for the next two years;
2016 Term One - Identity - Identity of Design, Principles & Elements of Design
2016 Term Two - Space/Place - Innovation & Ideation
2016 Term Three - Citizenship - Characteristics of Technology
2016 Term Four - How Things Work - Technological Systems
2017 Term One - Culture/Diversity - Outcome Development & Evaluation
2017 Term Two - Relationships - Technological Products
2017 Term Three - Innovation - Brief Development
2017 Term Four - Transformation - Technological Modelling

Many teachers outside the school talk about the issues of teaching technology, its not fun...
As for fun stuff,
  • my fun stuff has been brief development where students developed a brief for new training equipment to develop a skillset in PE. (no specific requirement on any tech area)
  • my fun stuff has been technological modelling where students have been developing ideas around an app for developing skills with the primary school students years 4-6
  • my fun stuff has been technological outcomes were students made a stop motion video around relationships for visual text through an english context.
  • my fun stuff has been elements of design creating graphic novels through an english context. 
  • my fun stuff has been digital information using documents and sheets
  • my fun stuff have been digital media photoshop looking at students photo editing skills, collage development and incorporating mixed media to support the ideas required for level one.
  • my fun stuff has been sketchup recreating building around the hobsonville point for historical purposes.
  • my fun stuff has been developing a technological outcome for 5 years through scratch
  • my fun stuff has been programming through ardunio using the mindkits brainboard develop prototypes
  • my fun stuff has been programming through python to develop games through technological systems
  • my fun stuff has been digital information, creating guess who through mysql console for technological modelling.
  • my fun stuff has been digital media through developing simple websites using notepad++ through outcome development.
  • my fun stuff has been teaching students about algorithms, human computer interfaces, data representation which has covered a lot of technological systems.
A lot of this has taken place from the student voice we get from the students, as well as conversations that I have with students in the modules. What is it that they want to get out of school, from the area. Where will this take them. I look forward to what the students will be doing in the next couple of years with the knowledge and skills that they have obtained through technology and digital technologies. 

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