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The Amazing Computer Education Projects Book

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4 things I learned about using education technology from a blues harp

A Minor HarpIf you’re playing with a bunch of people and someone shouts out “Solo!”, you have a choice. You can either stop and mumble “Sorry, I’m not quite…., I don’t think…., perhaps we should…” — or you can throw caution to the winds, trust your instinct and enjoy the moment. There’s a lesson for teachers here.

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Ed tech heroes get nervous too

I was struck by a comment made my Steve Dembo on Facebook recently. He said:

“I imagine that some day I'll stop getting nervous before presentations. But today is not that day”

I’ve met Steve: passionate, enthusiastic, a great speaker. I came across him via his blog and podcasts some years ago. I found him to be really inspirational, and was delighted to meet him at a conference a few years ago. So I was shocked to read his comment, though not surprised.

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Girls cram for exams using a mobile app

Everyone goes on about “boys and their toys”, but according to research carried out by a revision app company, more girls than boys are using the app to help them revise.

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Neurodeterminism as an antidote to common sense? I doubt it!

Mel Thompson discusses a certain type of determinism found in the area of Philosophy these days. Some time I ago I discussed this phenomenon in the field of educational technology [1] and later discovered that Mel and I shared certain views and frustrations! Read Mel's article: do you detect any similarities between our two disciplines?

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8 reasons that worksheets work for Computing

DSC03829The use of worksheets is often derided. You hear expressions like “death by a thousand worksheets”, and even a Government Education minister (now ex-Minister for Education) has weighed in, saying that teachers should use textbooks instead of worksheets [1].

Leaving aside the observation that how teachers teach is, in my opinion, none of the Government’s business – it’s the equivalent of telling doctors to use electronic blood pressure monitors rather than the manual kind – there are perfectly compelling reasons to use worksheets in the Computing classroom.

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Quick look: Literacy from Scratch

Updated on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 9:23AM by Registered CommenterTerry Freedman, Educational ICT Consultant

Updated on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 3:10PM by Registered CommenterTerry Freedman, Educational ICT Consultant

Scratch ProjectIf you’re concerned that young children won’t be able to grasp computing concepts, or are worried about how you’re going to teach it, have a look around the Literacy from Scratch website.

Managed – and, I think, written by – Lawrence Williams, the  website contains examples of pupils’ work in Scratch, cross-curricular ideas and examples, and notes on pedagogy.

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Review of Espresso Coding

Updated on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 6:43PM by Registered CommenterTerry Freedman, Educational ICT Consultant

esspresso code 1This application is designed to teach Computing at Key Stages 1 and 2 (a more sophisticated version for older pupils is being worked on).

What struck me immediately on using it is the amount of guidance available, both in verbal form and videos. There is quite a large range of modules to choose from, including “Starter” ones which take you through the basics and, where appropriate, recapitulate what has already been learnt.

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Review of Code Academy

codeacademyjsCode Academy is an online tutorial-based website for teaching yourself how to code. You can select which programming language you wish to learn, from the following list

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Review of J2Code

j2code 6As usual, I gave this application a workout without seeking help from a manual or anything like that – which is just as well because there does not seem to be a comprehensive manual.

There are three applications in one: JIT5, LOGO and Visual. This is quite useful because if you are familiar with LOGO but not JavaScript, you can start pupils coding in an environment that is familiar to you. Also, if you teach very young children, JIT5 is highly visual and colourful.

An advantage of J2Code as a whole over 2Code is that it covers the age range from Key Stage 1 (5-6 year olds) to Key Stage 3 (13-14 year olds).

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The usefulness of technology in education

Children at schoolStrangely enough, the most popular blog post on this website is 13 reasons to use educational technology in lessons. Why strange? Because I wrote it over three years ago. I re-read it recently, and (thank goodness!) I still agree with what I wrote all that time ago. I’d like to add more to it, but rather than do that I thought I would contribute to Mark Anderson’s series on this subject.

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Review of 2Code

2code block2Simple’s answer to the question “How can we teach coding to little ones?” is 2Code. The first thing that greets you when you go to the 2Code section of Purple Mash is the plethora of files to open.

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Review of Computing Without Computers

This free book by Paul Curzon (yes, the one who wrote The Magic of Human-Computer Communication), attempts to explain programming in non-technical language. I’ve looked at similar books designed for students, and they were not as good as this one. So what makes this one so great?

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Project-based learning in the Computing curriculum

Project-based learningJohn Partridge, Assistant Head for eLearning, explains how Computing is taught through a project-based learning approach at his school.

I remember clearly looking at the first draft of the new curriculum and just being totally shocked by the degree of change. It had been clearly signalled that the new draft would be a step-change, but I didn’t appreciate the shift which was about to take place. Almost nothing remained from the previous programme, save a few references to digital resources and, in a later draft, safe use of technology. So it was clear that some serious work was going to be needed to make sure our school adapted.

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Preparing to teach the new Computing curriculum

Oh No!!I've been giving talks on preparing for the new Computing curriculum, and as well as waxing lyrical that also involves listening to others' concerns. It also means hearing about some innovative approaches that colleagues have adopted.

At the same time, I have been conducting a survey of what people have been doing to prepare for the new curriculum. I'll be publishing the results in due course. In fact, some of the resources mentioned in the collection of coding resources in the early July 2014 edition of Digital Education  came to my attention from that survey.

So, given that at the time of writing there's about 2 or 3 days to go till the end of term, what can you realistically do at this stage to prepare for September?

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Digital Education latest edition!

For the final edition of this free newsletter, we have a great line-up of experts and articles:

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