Monday, 24 October 2016

Computational Thinking

Since being on the curious minds review last year, the aspect of computational thinking has been spread wide and far since being announced by Minister Pareta. I have a couple of times posted ideas of computational thinking on my blog, I continue again with the first page of Computing At School magazine, Autumn 2016.

Ideas, particularly good ideas, can take a long time to gain traction. Take the notion of Computational Thinking (CT), a term first coined by the late Seymour Papert. Papert was pointing to the potential of new technology to facilitate children’s ability to solve problems and thus ‘construct’ knowledge and understanding. But it took many years for the term to enter more mainstream use. For that we can thank Jeannette Wing. In a short paper ( written in 2006, the professor, then at Carnegie Mellon University argued that “Computational thinking is a fundamental skill for everyone, not just for computer scientists. To reading, writing, and arithmetic, we should add computational thinking to every child’s analytical ability. Just as the printing press facilitated the spread of the three Rs, what is appropriately incestuous about this vision is that computing and computers facilitate the spread of computational thinking.” She pointed out that “Thinking like a computer scientist means more than being able to program a computer”, going on to stress that “This kind of thinking will be part of the skill set of not only other scientists but of everyone else. Ubiquitous computing is to today as computational thinking is to tomorrow. Ubiquitous computing was yesterday’s dream that became today’s reality; computational thinking is tomorrow’s reality.”

Too many people still see CT as something for the technically minded. CAS takes a different view. CT has a generic value for developing ways of thinking in all children. The benefits are applicable to many areas, not just Computing — one reason CAS lobbied for a curriculum entitlement across all key stages. This issue focuses on inclusion; on making Computing accessible to every child, not just a select few.

Computing At School Autumn 2016

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Inquiry, Developing the learner narrative

On Friday at our weekly PLD meeting, we were asked were our Inquiries were at. I am thinking of a starting to think about a new inquiry I want to do. It is something I see that engages and gets people to reflect well within their practice. Now, why do students not want to do learning journey or narratives about their learning. (Hunch, students may not see what the idea is, amount of writing to be done, why do they have to do it. Maybe they just don't like blogging?) How can I take the hassle out of it, make it something that is not a chore, easy to do, purposeful and reflective.

Hobsonville Habits

Students and the learner narrative.
Narrative Learning highlights the role of narrative and narration in an  individual learning and an understanding of how they act in the world.  The ‘interior conversations’ whereby a person defines their personal thoughts and courses of action and creates their own stories and life missions, is situated at the heart of a person’s map of learning and understanding of their place in the world. Narrative learning as a concept seeks to shift the focus of learning from the prescriptiveness of a strongly defined curriculum to accommodate personal narrative styles and thereby encouraging engagement and motivation in the learning process.  Hence narrative learning is a concept, if embraced, has radical and far reaching implications for existing government policies on curriculum.

Why do students not want to blog? record a video? narrate their story?

I was taking with a PE teacher a couple of years ago when we had installed wifi and he was thinking of ways to incorporate it into his teaching. There was a PE standard that had poor performance, mainly because of being paper based, it got lost, screwed up, wet. Students didn't get good feedback because they didn't hand it in. Moving towards google forms and a database solution allowed for students to access it anywhere, and keep track of where they were up to, how many entries they completed, as well as the teachers commented about the increased reflective nature of the entries.

What is there that supports this within our school?

Prompts for hub coaches to use with students to think about reflection.

HPPS and the Learner Story, some thinking from staff

“The Learning Coach supports learners to reach academic and personal excellence by supporting them to set learning goals, constantly revisiting them and revising them and to seek ways of supporting each learner to enjoy the success of achieving their goals.  The Coach also works with learners to tell and track their learning journey / story, to discuss learning issues and find solutions, provide pastoral care, provide guidance for life beyond school and build on learners’ capacities to take responsibility for their learning.

What is the Learner Story?

  • Goals
  • Successes inside and outside (Academic and Personal)
  • Highlighting gaps, next steps
  • Personalised (Learner stories are different, so how do we have a genetic understanding when that means we are placing them into a category)  Every student's story is different, the way students learn is different.  But, like in modules etc, there are certain requirements / assessments / criteria that students have to meet.  This comment reminded me that it’s not about saying to every student that they must do a Blog / or tell their story in a specific way, but rather:
    • This is what Hubs are about
    • This is why we have Learning Stories
    • This is the criteria for Learning Stories - how students meet this criteria will depend on them, working with their coach.  

  • Academic:  Tracking through curriculum levels, Rubrics and where they seem themselves.
  • Personal: Setting personal goals through hubs, careers, goals, where they see themselves when leaving school.
  • Developing the whole learner (cultural, academic, personal, progress)
  • Enduring - easily accessible, persistent till Yr 13
  • Realistic, authentic and natural
  • Reflective, responsive - main purpose s for own reflections, not showing off
  • Encourage connections with Whanau
  • A hybrid of learner portfolio and reflections
  • Progression towards academic and personal excellence
  • A way of sharing learning with whanau
  • Student owned, student empowered.
  • Academic and Personal *
  • Progress - not just the outcome
  • Portfolio of projects / inquires and reflections on what it means.
  • Mixed perspective story about a learner’s learning in all aspects.  i.e. extra curricular, personal, hubs, modules, dispositional and academic etc…
  • A running narrative, rather than a summative looking back.
  • Should encompass warts and all - failures to learn from.
  • Need the learner story to be a diagnostic too - where do I have areas that need development?  What are my strengths?  
  • Authentic - not to be mixed up with reporting.

How might our learners tell / track their story?

  • Blog *
  • An app
  • Photos
  • Email home - their responsibility?
  • Portfolio - which mode - there are so many and it’s hard to keep up.
  • Visually
  • Needs to suit the story teller
  • In a HPSS Community we have decided to use a Blog to evidence their Learner Story to evidence their Learner Story.
    • long term it's a good way to show progress
    • Is this the best option for individual students?
    • The blog is a visual way to communicate and reflect on their learning
    • A way of tracking
    • There are still questions around this
    • A good way to track goals
    • There may still be too much information in a blog to present in an IEM situation
    • Is it for everyone - Depending on what suits individual students

  • Blogs with template or scaffolding (ie. Aaron’s prompt cards)
  • Timeline or achieve view for at a glance micro look
  • Some sort of zoomed-out glance view with modules, summary sentence etc.
  • Blog or Seesaw APP
  • Could be a google doc or google site
  • Students need to be Asked! Completely agree - ‘learner narrative’ was done to students and if we want them to be empowered and for the story to be theirs then we need their voice.  However, so students can decide on how they can best tell their learner story they need a criteria to work from.
  • Google site so can be shared with teachers, whanau, whoever they want to share with.
  • Learners should have choice (UDL) - it should suit the learner style, not ours.
  • Needs to be flexible and should be able to include a range of media.
  • Doesn't need to be online so that it can be useful for all stakehoders:  kids, whanau, coaches, teachers

To REFINE by developing your personal and academic excellence through reflecting, goal-setting and conferencing (including IEMs/exhibitions/sharing Learner Story),
To FOCUS by prioritising and planning your LearnPath
To MAKE SENSE by understanding self and by connecting and empathising with others
To EXPLORE by investigating the Hobsonville Habits
To GENERATE by communicating your Learner Story

Part of the work this year that was carried out by another teacher was around a habit tracking tool.

I am going to switch tacks for a little while, I hope to get some data soon from my hub students and others about learner stories. 

Live More Awesome

Last year we had a group come in and talk about the gratitude journal. The live more awesome group came into school and talked about the mental wellness of all people. As part of this programme we were left with gratitude journal for students to write in once a week what they were grateful for.  

Headspace How headspace works

As part of our hub curriculum we are to look at mindfulness, as part of that 
The headspace app was recommended to our students by another presenter, The pity was the cost of the in app purchases. 

The second thing that I have seen lately is the unstuck app
While i like the idea of the app, the one that intrigues me is the cards. The tip cards and superpower cards. These are something that I can see providing students with starters on the learner story. 

Collecting first part of data.
As part of Hub this morning, what do students think learning stories are about:
Students feedback about what they think Learner Stories are.
Through one of our community meeting on Tuesday one of the suggestions for learning celebrations was, how could a student create a book at the end that shows the learning story. This could be an outcome that is incorporated into the final look.

As well as thinking what this could look like and be developed, I have been thinking about how to get the students to own this? Qualification 2 Digital Technologies could have this being developed as a project, students developing their own way to record and develop their learning story.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Changing nature of Digital Technologies?

I am thinking about what these would look like in my current context and future visioning of what this subject could look like in 5-10 years time. I am not looking at the ideas of programming or computer science, as this seems to be what everyone talks about. I am looking at other areas in this post today.
I tend to ignore social networks, this is due to historical reasons around bebo, myspace. Looking at what is happening with the ideas of instagram and facebook, snapchat. It is a way to share ones life, developing campaigns around social good could the focus instead, allows for the integration of digital media, the development of good digital citizenship ideas and programmes as well.
Ability to evaluate the role of social media and how it impacts on society. Do they understand the role of social media and how it related to society.

What does a good digital campaign look like through different digital media.
Getting more focus on the development of own images/animations/design to support better outcomes for students.

How can we look at the technology that is in the pocket of students to allow them to make better videos. Develop better images. I look outside at present and see students with gimballs attached to gopros to make skateboarding videos to support their learning. Why are we not looking at how integrating of learning areas can be better used to support student outcomes. These are great ideas at lower curriculum levels and I see a huge range of success for teachers and students that can tell their story. 

One of the integration that happened naturally in my school was electronics and art. Getting students to develop ideas of native birds or pests and developing electronics to help make it move. I plan on developing this in a later post.

To me we still haven't looked at the ideas of the changing nature of databases, while we look at how to develop and construct, we are not looking at how to deal with the concepts of big data, and why this will be an issue with Internet of Things. Databases are also changing in their nature with web environments, having to be more flexible and fluid. Think of twitter and its scalability issue with the Retweets of the ellen image that broke it. While students may not create databases that big they should still be aware of some of the limits of the technology. With the changing nature of database system moving away from servers to more service base. One thing that I forget to include when I initially wrote this was the application of API, getting students to be able to bring in information from an outside data source. Consider the fact of mashups and being able to use information from the likes of opens source data to being new ideas together. I look at the information coming together that nzherald are using.

Cloud development and ideas need to be considered with the ideas as we move away from information stored on our own systems. "Considering the feedback from tertiary is that they cannot do sharing of work, like google drive and onedrive and therefore want it removed from the unit standards".
Also taking this into consideration with the office productivity tools, consider what is in the current standards and how it still includes ideas with certain office productivity tools and how this could limit the online environment as well as open source.

As has been pointed out on the subject association group, what about new technologies, how will they be considered within this, Many of the ideas that we are working on have to be under the Conceptual or prototype generics as we cannot do any around the skills standards.

Splitting aspects of digital media? This is a huge issue with what has been though the group.
One of the biggest issues that have developed in the last couple of years and keeps coming up is the one around game development, I believe that could really develop something that is not just around the product, but the thinking and learning that goes into it.
Should desktop publishing come under the digital media, or is it already being covered better in art/design.
Also have a better focus on User Experience design.

We also have modelling that needs to be considered, 3D modelling of environments (which could possibly go under the Design and Visual Communication standards) but also the development of 3D printing, these are something that cross many technology areas, should they be developed for just one area.

Could their be standards to support the engineering of robotics to develop autonomous systems?

Even stating that CSS should be used in a web development assessment is starting to become an issue. Why do we not include statements about design/responsive instead of stating technologies.

What will be the impact of Virtual Reality, Augmented systems as they have more tools to support the development of ideas within the classroom. How does an idea of a virtual tour look when people can actually do a 360 walk and movement using VR or Google Cardboard or when google glass comes back, you know it will.

How will wearable computing be developed, built on, we have a world of e-textiles and teachers wanting to develop great ideas through creative technologies. The ability to make clothes change colour, play sounds and interact with the world around them.

As stated earlier in the year, the development of better infrastructure standards and a pathway to support the learning of these. Many students are building there own computers younger now.

We need to think differently, if we are looking at the potential of what students come through school learning, why should office productively tools be assessed? Should it state that students should learn 3 different programming languages before year 10? If students are going to digitally literate.

Why are we just considering standards that could be round skills and knowledge, why not the soft skills that tertiary and employers are after.

As has been stated, digital technologies could be considered more of a collaborative(while doing something else) environment, agree that we should standards that support this, but not only this, but research/inquiry for students to actually do a proper piece that could be published in a students educational ,
New media literacy.
Managing yourself in a digital world? Where there is constant demand, is there a health crossover
Virtual collaboration, can they work with others, not just in own school, but with outside partners.
21st century fluencies/future of work needs to considered.

Considering the list here...
  • Algorithms
  • Programming
  • Data Representation
  • Digital Devices and Infrastructure
  • Electronics
  • Digital Applications (USING stuff, like office software, digital cameras, etc. etc.)
  • Digital Media (Film, audio, graphic design, print media, wysiwyg web stuff)
  • Web Design and Development (writing HTML/CSS, building websites, and then web apps using databases, JS etc. etc.)
  • Humans and Computers (HCI, UX, computers and society, digital citizenship, computers and problem solving etc.)
While some of these have been put in as extra, when the original documents came out in 2009 I think, the missing components was humans and computers.

While many of the areas that have been talked about are at secondary school, there is still a lot of thought that needs to go in to what are we looking at what is coming through. How can a curriculum be written to support 13 years of schooling, While teh fundamental of the digital technologies space may not change, it is however how they will be presented to students that will change.

I hope you get through all of this, as there are some big issues and ideas in here. While there are not solutions offered.

Monday, 3 October 2016

digital media, standards

One thing I have been doing lately is starting to look at what is next for the digital media area. While it is not new and has been around for  number of years is the web open formats for media and images.

A number of years ago I watched a website that when you scrolled the image moved. This was part of a tourism New Zealand campaign. I have always wondered how to recreate this type of background and image without scaffold and expensive equipment.

Drones are the answer, with the quality cameras now available and simplicity being able to view what you are filming at the time. This allows the for the ideas to become real.

Here is the case study that started me down this track (took me three days to find it)

I managed to find a great site that uses this format,, it has a video background that uses the .webm format. One thing that is talked about is that you do have to serve up both formats, a .webm format as well as a .mp4 format. That is due to some browsers not being able to use the format.

The webm format and project website

Also the webp format

So starting off with the idea of where I want to go. Scenario: We have a fantastic area near our school, a lot of history and an ever changing environment. Can we promote this?
I know, a jpg file
A screen shot of the website that uses this format for the background
To start to see what I have put together as an example

I used some footage from one of our local parks to demonstrate the idea.

So, looking at the knowledge based standards, not just the skills based standards, what can we do with the students to really get them to show knowledge?

So why, I am looking at ideas to support the learning objectives around understanding of advanced concepts of digital media

I have to look at the ideas of Standards and conventions refer to the technical specifications, guidelines and terminology appropriate to a media type.

So why look at the difference and ideas of jpg, png and webp, as well as .webm and .mp4. Considering the potential uses of these in a students work, as well as what they are developing web wise, it should be part of the course.

Also good for students to be able to discuss the positive and negative implications of adhering to digital media standards and conventions when developing digital media outcomes.

It should be noted that, these are my views and thinking. JPEG vs PNG vs GIF should be sufficient for this standard.
It should be to generalise the idea of standards. What they are, why they work/don’t work, and how it sucks to be a front end dev