Teaching

A Guide to Delivering Creative Computing Lessons (Presentation)

This is the presentations I gave at the ‘Design and Deliver an Outstanding Secondary Computing Curriculum’ conference by Optimus Education on 15th October.

It was a really great day and I saw some fantastic presentations and talks.

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(Digital) Information Literacy – Top 10 Tips for Parents and Teachers

  1. Explain that not everything on the internet is true

  2. Ask your child/student to compare information from different sites when doing research. Some sites may be biased or have a political agenda

  3. Trustworthy sites may be associated with trustworthy organisations

  4. Question what you read and look for other opinions

  5. Use keywords when searching the web to make your search more accurate. Do not just type a question – select the most important words

  6. When searching for websites and images etc try refining the search using the search tools so you are more likely to find what you want. These options are just underneath the Google search bar

  7. Encourage your child/student to read the whole article or page

  8. Information should not just be copied and pasted. It needs to be read, understood, digested and questioned

  9. Encourage your child/student to use well known sources. For example: NASA, BBC etc.

  10. Avoid using sites such as answers.yahoo.com. Anyone can contribute to these sites and the information may not be correct or accurate. If you are using Wikipedia, make sure you look out for mistakes or things that may not be true.

(UPDATED) Swivl: A Device For The Flipped Classroom

I recently purchased a device called ‘Swivl’ for school and I thought I would take the time to write a quick post about it.

‘Swivl’ is a used to film lessons or other activities for use with the flipped classroom or lesson observations.

The device sits on a tripod and has a slot for you to put your iPhone or iPod Touch into it. You can then put the microphone/sensor around your neck and the device will swivel round and follow you as you walk around the classroom. It pretty cool and staff and students were impressed with the tech.

It is a great device that is very useful if you want to film your lessons, especially if you have a teacher that walks around a lot, like me. It also has a free App that that optimises the experience.

As you will see from the video below, you should check the white balance as you can hardly see what is on the whiteboard. I should have really had a look before I started filming, leaving the classroom light on would have helped. It is also fairly pricey at about £175. I got mine from: http://www.techinvasion.co.uk/

There is another issue too. If you are walking around the camera follows you, which is fine. However, I make lots of small movements so the camera can be a little jerky. Probably something just to be mindful of when you are using it I suppose. Update: A representative of Techinvasion read this post and kindly emailed me with some guidance. He let me know that there is a ‘Sport Mode’ which is there for just this reason. 

Overall, I think it is really good. It is very easy to set up and will certainly improve the filming and sharing the lessons.

Have a look at the video and make up your own mind. Sorry about the rubbish commentary. It has been a long day. 🙂

Mr Britland’s Open Source KS3 Computing Curriculum V3: 2014-2015: PDF Download (free booklet)

(UPDATE: 11th July 2014)

Over the last couple of months I have been working on updating my Computing curriculum ready for release this month. This is the 3rd version and I have tried to do something slightly different with it.

Several months ago Tristan Kirkpatrick, a newly qualified Computing teacher (@Tristan_ICTCS) got in touch with me and asked if I was interested in making the curriculum open source. I jumped at the chance. Tristan began building a new website to enable the curriculum to be shared. All his hard work has resulted in something really exciting.

So…how does it work?

  1. Head to www.ictcomputing.org
  2. Download the Computing curriculum / template (Google Template)
  3. Use it in anyway you like
  4. If you make any changes (remixes), send it back to us by sharing the document with ictcomputingsubmit@gmail.com. Your version of the curriculum will then be available for others to download
  5. Best of all is that it is free for everyone!

Head over to www.ictcomputing.org now!

A PDF version of the curriculum is available from the link below:

Mr Britland’s Open Source Computing Curriculum  

 


I have been working very hard over the last few months producing my new Computing curriculum and it is finally ready.

Details below:

Feel free to download and use this curriculum. If you use this booklet, its projects or ideas and would like to make a donation for its continuing development, please use the link provided. I would like to keep giving this document away for free so any donation would be amazing. Please click to be redirected to my donation page.

Thanks for your support.

Matt.

This is now version 2 – DOWNLOAD HERE

V2

I have added / amended the following:

  • Amended strand descriptors.
  • Added a new ‘How to use this Booklet’ section
  • New section on what software and websites are used, including free alternatives to paid software
  • Amended ‘Visual Programming: Kodu’ (Year 7)
  • ‘Computer Hardware/History’ project now called ‘How a computer works/computing history’ and now includes software. It is now taught in Year 7
  • Added ‘The Web: HTML5 and CSS3’ (Year 8)
  • Added ‘Networks’ (Year 8)
  • Added ‘Google and Algorithms’ (Year 9)

End products have changed for the following projects:

  • Stay Safe Online – Online guide using Snapguide
  • Visual Programming: Kodu – Screencast using Screenr
  • Your Digital World – Online presentation using slide.es

In Development

  • New creative projects
  • How to use an iPad to teach this curriculum

If you would like some help with creating your own resources or would like me to produce any educational publications, please visit www.realiselearning.co.uk.

Top 5 Tips on Using Social Media in Education (Presentation)

I have just finished a webinar for Optimus Education entitled ‘5 Top Tips to Safely and Effectively Utilise Social Media as a Tool to Support Learning’ and I wanted to share the slides. Have a look and feel free to download if you like it.

On the 15th October I am also speaking at ‘Design and Deliver an Outstanding Secondary Computing Curriculum‘, again, for Optimus Education. It will a great day and you can sign up using the link.

If you would like a speaker at a school, conference or webinar head over to www.realiselearning.co.uk.

What is the future of technology in education?

This article was originally published by The Guardian on 19th June 2013

A couple of weeks ago I was asked what I thought the future of technology in education was. It is a really interesting question and one that I am required to think about all the time. By its very nature, technology changes at a fast pace and making it accessible to pupils, teachers and other stakeholders is an ongoing challenge.

So what is the future? Is it the iPad?

No, I don’t think it is. For me, the future is not about one specific device. Don’t get me wrong, I love the iPad. In fact, I have just finished a trial to see if using them really does support teaching and learning – and they have proved effective. I’ve written about the trial in more detail on my blog.

iPads and other mobile technology are the ‘now’. Although, they will play a part in the future, four years ago the iPad didn’t even exist. We don’t know what will be the current technology in another four. Perhaps it will be wearable devices such as Google Glass, although I suspect that tablets will still be used in education.

The future is about access, anywhere learning and collaboration, both locally and globally. Teaching and learning is going to be social. Schools of the future could have a traditional cohort of students, as well as online only students who live across the country or even the world. Things are already starting to move this way with the emergence of massive open online courses (MOOCs).

For me the future of technology in education is the cloud.

Technology can often be a barrier to teaching and learning. I think the cloud will go a long way to removing this barrier. Why? By removing the number of things that can go wrong.

Schools, will only need one major thing to be prepared for the future. They will not need software installed, servers or local file storage. Schools will need a fast robust internet connection. Infrastructure is paramount to the the future of technology in education.

We don’t know what the new ‘in’ device will be in the future. What we do know, is that it will need the cloud. Schools and other educational institutions will need to futureproof their infrastructure the best they can.

This should be happening now. If you want to start to use mobile technology in your school, whether it is an iPad program or a bring your own device (BYOD) program your connectivity must be fast and reliable. Student and teacher buy in, is so important. If the network is slow and things are not working properly students and teachers will not want to use the devices. Make the sure the infrastructure is there before the devices.

Teachers can use the cloud to set, collect and grade work online. Students will have instant access to grades, comments and work via a computer, smartphone or tablet. Many schools are already doing this. Plus, services such as the educational social network Edmodo offer this for free.

This is where devices come in. All devices, not matter which ones we will use in the future will need to access the cloud. Each student will have their own. Either a device specified by the school or one they have chosen to bring in themselves.

School classrooms are going to change. Thanks to the cloud and mobile devices, technology will be integrated into every part of school. In fact, it won’t just be the classrooms that will change. Games fields, gyms and school trips will all change. Whether offsite or on site the school, teachers, students and support staff will all be connected. In my ideal world, all classrooms will be paperless.

With the cloud, the world will be our classroom. E-learning will change teaching and learning. Students can learn from anywhere and teachers can teach from anywhere.

The cloud can also encourage independent learning. Teachers could adopt a flipped classroom approach more often. Students will take ownership of their own learning. Teachers can put resources for students online for students to use. These could be videos, documents, audio podcasts or interactive images. All of these resources can be accessed via a student’s computer, smartphone or tablet. As long as they have an internet connection either via Wifi, 3G or 4G they are good to go.

Rather than being ‘taught’ students can learn independently and in their own way. There is also a massive amount of resources online that students can find and use themselves, without the help of the teacher.

This of course means the role of the teacher will change.

Shared applications and documents on the cloud, such as Google Apps will allow for more social lessons. How often do students get an opportunity to collaborate productively using technology in the classroom? It isn’t always easy. However, students working on documents together using Google Apps is easy. They could be in the same room or in different countries. These are all good skills for students to have. Of course, these collaborative tools are also very useful for teachers. I for one have worked on several projects where these tools have lets me work with people across the country. Some of which I have never met.

What we must remember is that when schools adopt new technology and services, they must be evaluated. This way, as a school, you know if they are successful and what improvements are needed. Staff will also need training, you can’t expect staff to use new technology if it they are not confident users or creators. Any initiative is doomed to failure without well trained, confident staff who can see how technology can support and benefit teaching and learning.

Plenty of schools have already embraced this, but there’s still a way to go to ensure all schools are ready for the future of technology. It is time for all schools to embrace the cloud.