In 2018 Paul spent considerable time developing his knowledge and understanding of how block coding worked and used this with his 5/6 class to program Sphero robots. In 2019 he has continued to extend and develop his knowledge of programming, using the Parrot Mambo drones with his class.
This Digital Technologies unit involved students extending their knowledge of block coding, learning about drone safety, how to manually fly the drones, understanding and using the Tynker app, and programming the drones through an obstacle course. Students also had to use a variety of interpersonal skills to successfully work with a partner during the program.
As with most technologies being used for the first time the drones required a significant amount of persistence and problem solving. In preparation Paul did taught himself how to use the drones ensuring he knew some of the issues students would face when working with the drones. The students demonstrated considerable problem solving skills and a good understanding of block coding to achieve the end goal of moving their drones through a series of obstacles.
Comments made by the students included:
“We had to make sure we put in the correct information to make the drones work, things like height, distance and time”.
“I really liked making the drones flip and do 360 degree turns, being able to program the drone was fun”.
“It was fun working with a partner to program the drones. I enjoyed interacting with the drone rather than just sitting at a computer”.
“We had some problems connecting to the drones sometimes but most of the time they worked well”.
“It was fun flying the drones but it was a challenge to program them correctly”.
Links to the 5/6 Digital Technologies Australian Curriculum
Achievement Standard: Students plan, design, test, modify and create digital solutions that meet intended purposes including user interfaces and a visual program.
Paul and Tim have been doing a lot of work with the Sphero robots and the Year 5/6 class. Students have been manually controlling the Spheros’ in activities like Sphero soccer while also developing block coding skills to move the Spheros through a maze. Students have experienced high levels of engagement, great collaboration, problem solving and the use of mathematical and scientific concepts. The other great thing to come from these lessons is the learning that Paul and Tim have experienced alongside the students, never having used Spheros before.
Sphero Soccer (Black ball is the soccer ball. Two teams Green/Blue & Red/Pink/Yellow)
This article is written by Microsoft who supply laptops to schools so I will take it with a grain of salt that they don’t see the value of mobile phones in the classroom but I will say it does reflect my experience. I see little use in my HPE classroom for student mobile phones when we have access to school iPads and 1:1 laptops. My general experience is that across the school day phones distract considerably more than they influence learning.
Jackie and Madeline have been working with the Year 3/4 class to create green screen videos using the Do Ink app. This is a simple and easy way to add interest and enhance a student’s presentation.
An extension of this activity could be the following as shared by @bhopteacher on Twitter. The student in the video has created their own African jungle diorama which has become the background for a presentation about owls.
Rube Goldberg was born in 1883. In 1904 he graduated Berkley College as an engineer which eventually gave way to him becoming a sports cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle. He continued as an editorial cartoonist for the New York Sun and his fame came from a fictional character he created, Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts. Through this character he would illustrate complex inventions later to become known as Rube Goldberg machines.
A “Rube Goldberg Machine” is an extremely complicated device that executes a very simple task in a complex, indirect way. rube-goldberg.com
Rube Goldberg in your classroom
How could you use the concept of a Rube Goldberg machine to create a STEM project if a STEM project is defined as the following?
Diagram provided by STEM 500 Primary Educators
Examples of Rube Goldberg Machines
Click here for an example STEM lesson building a Rube Goldberg machine (NSW Education Standards Authority).
Like to see more Rube Goldberg machines? Just click here!
Green Screen by Do Ink makes it easy to create incredible green screen videos and photos. Classroom-tested by kids and teachers, this app emphasizes ease-of-use and simplicity while still enabling fantastic results. With Green Screen by Do Ink, you can tell a story, explain an idea, and express yourself in truly creative and unique ways. DK Pictures, Inc
“Use Green Screen as part of a project based learning unit…highly recommended..” – Teachers With Apps
“Green Screening and creativity go hand-in-hand.. with the amazing DoInk Green Screen app for the iPad.” – UKedChat
“Recording in it is easy as pie and can be used in elementary, middle or high school.” – Examiner.com
“Do Ink’s excellent Green Screen app is a fantastic addition to the amateur film maker’s armory.” – iPad Insight
“Single best green screen app ever produced…” – iPadEducators
This app is on all of our classroom iPads and combined with the green screen and lighting kit in the STEM centre provides an opportunity for students to create some great videos.
Recording lessons can be a powerful way to support student learning. However before implementing any new technology, especially those that require student engagement outside the classroom certain questions should be asked:
Is there a benefit for my students?
Do I want to invest some time in this?
Is the technology going to work in my school environment?
If not who can help me make it work and will the time it takes be worthwhile in the long term?
Is the technology available to my students at home?
Is it easy to use and access?
Recording a lesson should be no more complicated than opening
the software, pressing record, going about your lesson in exactly the same
manner as any other lesson, press stop recording and then uploading the
video to a place for students to access.
Five reasons to record your lessons:
Absences: Student absences are frustrating. There is nothing worse than teaching a critical lesson, outlining a new topic or explicitly teaching a new concept and one or more students are away. If the lesson has been recorded then the student has the opportunity to catch up on what they have missed without the teacher having to spend time during the next lesson ‘catching the student up’. The link to the video can also be sent to the parent via email or txt message.
Note taking: If students know they can access a video of the lesson at any time they do not need to spend time taking notes during the lesson. Removing the need for note taking allows students to focus on the lesson being presented rather than rushing to keep up with note taking.
Teacher feedback: Recording lessons can pick up the discussions that occur during lessons (a good microphone may need to be purchased). This allows the teacher to hear who is responding and their understanding of concepts. It also provides feedback to the teacher about the lesson – How did it go? What would I change? Was my questioning effective? etc.
Flipped learning: A growing trend in education is flipped learning. This requires the teacher to 1. create a lesson (or part of) outside of normal lesson time or 2. find a video made by someone else and ask students to view the video for homework reducing the time needed in class for explicit teaching of the concept and more time for application and discussion of the concept.
Revision/parent involvement: A series of lessons recorded on a topic provides a resource for students to look back on to revise for an assessment task or test. If parents are made aware of how to access recorded lessons they can support their child at home to access them. This is true for younger students whose parents may wish to sit down and help them strengthen a concept.
You may not be someone who wants to record every lesson (I don't). But you
may want to record the odd lesson or section of a lesson every now and then.
For example a 15 min explicit teaching lesson in maths or a 10 minute
procedure in science or a 5 minute grammar rule in English.
If it is something you always teach then the video becomes a resource
you can use in the future. Having the skills and tools to do this
is a valuable addition to your teaching strategies.
How can I record lessons?
Screen record on the iPad using a new iOS 11 feature
iOS11 has the ability to screen record your iPhone or iPad which allows teachers to create recorded lessons using these devices. iOS11 saves the video into the Photos app. There were some bugs initially with the audio not working when the video file was uploaded to sites like You Tube or apps like iMovie. This bug has been fixed in iOS11.2.
ShowMe developers say: ShowMe allows you to record voice-over whiteboard tutorials and share them online. It’s an amazingly simple app that anyone can use. ShowMe is a very simple and easy way to get into recording lessons. I have used this app previously for this purpose and it is best used with a stylus to write on the iPad screen. Creating a ShowMe account allows you to upload your videos to an online account providing a place for your students to access the completed lessons. You can also access other teacher’s ShowMe lessons in a variety of subject areas. Lessons will also be saved in the app without having to upload to the ShowMe website.
Educreations is another whiteboard app that I have used to record lessons and works in a similar way to ShowMe. It offers more functionality and options but is essentially the same idea. It allows you to record lessons and upload them to the Educreation’s website to be accessed by your students. Educreations also has its own You Tube channel which allows you to access other teacher’s Educreation videos.
As well as creating lessons on the iPad you can also create lessons on your computer once you have logged in with your account. This does require writing with the mouse which I find annoying (easier with a stylus on the iPad or a touchscreen laptop).
To connect your iPad to a your display in the classroom you have a number
> Use Apple TV's Airplay function (Apple TV - $209 and a tech who can make
it work at your site)
> iPad HDMI connection. $49 from Apple - Lightening to HDMI.
Click here to view.
> iPad VGA connection. $49 from Apple - Lightening to VGA.
Click here to view.
Quick Time (Mac)
Quicktime is the video playback app available on Mac which has a function allowing screen recording. If you own a Mac then Quicktime comes as part of the operating system and does not need to be downloaded. If you own a Widows PC or laptop you will need to download Quick Time although it is worth noting that Apple have dropped support for Quick Time on Windows past Windows 7. Apple says: QuickTime 7 is for use with Windows Vista or Windows 7. If installed on other versions of Windows, it may not offer full functionality. You can download Quick Time for Windows 7.7.9 here.
There are many web based screen recorders like Screen Cast-O-Matic. I have used the free version of this (15mins free recording) and it works well. The paid version is also relatively cheap, a one year subscription costs $1.50 per month or a three year subscription costs $1 per month.
This app costs AU $30.99 (US $19.90 for Windows or Mac). While it is expensive compared to other apps it offers some great functionality for those serious about screen recording lessons. Download Ink2Go here. I have not had the chance to use the app to record a full lesson but have played with it and it seems to do a good job.
Ink2Go website says: Ink2Go is an extremely simple yet powerful screen annotation and recording software. You can easily write on top of any other application that is currently active on the desktop, even on a running video. You can then save your annotations as an image file or even record the whole session as a video for sharing. It is a useful tool for presenters to communicate and share ideas during a live session, for educators to create effective video tutorials.
Flipped learning may not be something you want to explore and recording some or all of your lessons does not mean you are ‘Flipping’ your classroom. If you are interested in finding out more about Flipped learning visit the Byron Bay High Math faculty blog which has detailed information about how they have applied the concept of Flipped learning.
I wonder if these models could inspire our students to design, engineer and create their own moving models. The only materials needed are rubber bands and wood (and a laser cutter).
The following models were created by Ugears a company formed in 2014 in the Ukraine. The company has an online presence in Australia – to find out more click here. Amazingly I found out about these these models through a local shop in the main street of Moonta just recently.
The following videos are a useful resource for those PBAS staff who are keen to move forward with 3D printing by themselves or with a class. These videos are available off line to PBAS staff on our server – Admin – CURRICULUM AREAS – STEM.