The Shadow Game

The concept of making something move using a motion path in a Power Point is fairly simple. The concept of projecting it up on a wall and having students interact with it physically, problem solve and share their solutions helps develop basic movement skills and promotes collaboration.

Here is a game given to me by @matulisj who created the Power Point you will see projected on the wall in my video. The second video shows two of his students in October this year using a computer and motion capture technology to create their own game. Pretty cool stuff!

Coding

At PBAS this term Jackie and Paul have introduced Coding into their classrooms challenging their students to think creatively, problem solve and work collaboratively. The resources they have available to them are the iPad apps Hopscotch, Kodable and Daisy the Dinosaur. The school also has a set of Bee Bots which allow simple directional coding.

Paul recently shared an article with me that he had read in the latest edition of Australian Educator (Spring 2014, issue 83) called Code Commanders. One of the resources in the article lead me to a site called Code. After having a quick play with the website I found it engaging and easy to use. As a resource for teaching coding I think it would be excellent. There is a student and teacher sign up process which allows the teacher to track progress over time. The site can be used without an account but any learning cannot be saved.

Below are screen shots from the site which explain what type of courses are available.

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Tutorials range from an hour in length (the beginner tutorials above) to courses 15-25 hours in length.

The new Digital Technologies Australian Curriculum requires aspects of coding to be taught and is an area of the curriculum that for a lot of teachers will be new. The Code site would be a great starting point for any teacher keen to develop their own knowledge about coding. It is also a great resource to form the basis of a coding program to deliver to students.

The adventures of a cardboard box

How many ways can you use a cardboard box? Kids absolutely love playing with boxes creating everything from buildings, cars, planes, rocket ships and kitchen appliances. Some of you may remember the Cardboard Arcade video that went viral around the world and I posted on this blog back in April 2012. The video posted below is called, The Adventures of a Cardboard Box. Imagination and creativity at its best!

I found this video while looking through the Australian Curriculum Lessons website. The lesson is called, The Adventures of a Cardboard Box – 17 Activities to Inspire Your Class – 2/3/4. If you have not been to this website I suggest you do – a great range of lessons linked to the Australian Curriculum.

 

Coding for Kids

What is coding and why is it useful?

Coding allows us to create computer software, apps and websites. A computer can’t function without someone installing code so that it can function in the way that we want it to. In a technology rich world the skill of coding is valuable.

In the US alone there’ll be a million more computing jobs than computing science graduates by 2020.” Reference – abc.net.au , “Coding crisis: getting tech skills taught in schools”. I realise we are not the US but you get the picture.

“The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) shortage – In Australia we’re already languishing near the bottom of the OECD in creating students interested in S.T.E.M.. Australia actually imports more STEM graduates than it educates at university.” Reference – abc.net.au , “Coding crisis: getting tech skills taught in schools”.

What do we do at PBAS?

Currently at PBAS we do very little around Coding and Programming although we have had and used Lego Robotics for a long time and dabbled in the use of BeeBots. This has tended to be at higher year levels or to select groups rather than across a wide range of students.

With the introduction of iPads we now have a resource that is easily accessible and able to introduce and help us teach concepts around coding. The apps Kodable, Hopscotch and Daisy the Dinosaur have been put on the iPads during the holidays and offer a range of coding options from junior primary to senior secondary. The Kodable app also provides teacher learning guides to assist with the app.

Where does coding fit in the Australian Curriculum?

I have had a look at the Technologies – Digital Technologies R-6 Australian Curriculum and found where where this learning fits. I have created a single A4 page that outlines this information for teachers. Click here to see this document.

I have provided some videos below to help with the introduction of the coding apps on the iPads.

Primary staff meeting Week 2, Term 2

In addition to this post I am also planning to discuss coding in the week 2, term 2 Primary team meeting. I am hoping we will have the chance to play with the iPads to see how the coding apps work and discuss the idea of teaching students simple coding concepts.

Kodable

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Daisy the Dinosaur

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Hopstcotch

Hopscotch

Year 9/10s presenting concepts with MacBooks

In HPE the 9/10 students have been learning about the benefits of physical activity in three areas; physical, social and mental. We did some background work on the benefits in each area through a great website called Life Dojo which provided short videos explaining the benefits to each area of a persons life. We collated notes individually and shared these in class discussions. I then wanted students to consolidate their learning by presenting their information using iMovie Trailer.

iMovie Trailer is very structured and is limited in the amount of text students can use. The format allows students to drop in images or video and add text, however the images/video flick through at predetermined speeds from 1.5 – 3.5 seconds. The trailers themselves range from 50 seconds to just over 1 minute. Just think of any movie trailer you have seen and you get an idea of what iMovie Trailer does.

It was the structure that attracted me to using this tool as a way for students to present their work. The limited text and short time span meant that students needed to consider very carefully how they were going to get the message of “The benefits of physical activity” across to and audience. Below are two finished examples by Bianca and Connor.

How great is it that our 9/10 students can use this software at school and also at home on the same machine. For those students who have not completed their iMovie trailer in the allotted class time I can comfortably ask them to complete it at home knowing they have the tools to do so.

Connor’s iMovie Trailer “The benefits of physical activity”

Bianca’s iMovie Trailer “The benefits of physical activity”

Ever Wonder? – Wonderopolis

Ed thought this website might be interesting for staff and students (he can’t help himself). I have had a quick look and it has some great things on it. If you hadn’t made the connection the site is all about wonder and encouraging kids to learn new things. There is one particular page which caught my eye called Explore Wonders and if you click on the image below you will be taken to this page. It has a huge array of videos on a wide variety of topics, some of which you can see in the picture. Each video is combined with text to encourage thinking about the concept. Some videos are instructional while others have no direct instructional value but when combined with the text cause you to think and wonder.

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Ken Robinson: How to escape educations death valley

Ken Robinson’s talks are always entertaining and thought provoking. Watch this TED Talk in which Ken Robinson discusses the following topics:

  • Disengagement
  • Children are diverse
  • Education focuses on a narrow spectrum
  • ADHD
  • Broad curriculum
  • Curiosity
  • A creative profession
  • Standardised testing
  • Creativity is important
  • Individualise teaching and learning
  • Engage students
  • Teachers need discretion and autonomy

Visual Poetry App

Richard Byrne has a blog called “iPad Apps for Schools”. He contributes regularly and reviews a wide range of educational apps. One of his more recent app reviews was for an app called Visual Poetry which I thought sounded useful for presenting student writing. The app allows the user to create custom word clouds with their text (not just poetry). The app is .99c. I would be interested if anyone would like to download it and see if they think it would be worthwhile putting it on the PBAS iPads.

Click here to read Richards review of the app.

Click here to visit iTunes to view the app.

visual poetry 1

Adding audio to a single image using FotoBabble

In my previous post I talked about an app called WordFoto which allows students to generate a word list and apply those words to a photo. The photo is then made up entirely of words (none of the original image remains). If you would like to view this post click here.

In this post I would like to show you how to take this photo created in WordFoto and add some audio to it using a second app called FotoBabble. After creating an image and applying a set of words to it in WordFoto this image is saved to the camera roll on the iPad. Open FotoBabble and import that image. Once the image is in FotoBabble students can add audio to explain the image and the concepts they have learnt.

The example below has been created by me but is a task my 7/8 Health class will be undertaking this term. The task will be to select an image representing smoking and create a word list in WordFoto and apply those words to the photo. Students will then save this image into the camera roll and import it into FotoBabble. In FotoBabble they will have to record an explanation of 3 words from their list that appear in the photo and why they have used them. My example is quite short for the purpose of this post, students work will be more detailed.

As well as adding audio there are a number of basic formating options within the app including: the ability to enhance the photo, add effects, add frame (free download in app), add stickers (very basic – in app purchase required to get more), rotate the image and add themed wall paper as a background.

Note: Once the audio is completed the image/audio needs to be uploaded to the Fotobabble website. For this to occur a class account needs to be created under the teachers name. Students then use the user name and password to log in on their iPad and upload their work. This works through our school wireless system and is fairly quick and painless.