Coding and STEAM Workshops in Australia, 2016

Australia coding and STEAM

You wouldn’t put someone in front of a piano and say, ‘Figure out how to play it’. The same can be said about coding in schools.

Following the endorsement of the new Australian Technologies Curriculum, the Queensland Government made coding and robotics compulsory in schools from Prep to Year 10. Its reasonable to expect that it won’t be long before each Australian state will ensure that schools are embedding coding and robotics in the curriculum – which is clearly a very good thing.

But what does this mean for schools, institutions and teachers who are expected to deliver this new curriculum? Whilst Scratch, Code.org and similar packages give students and teachers an entry point, teaching “General Purpose Computer Languages” to students is an altogether different matter.

And its a similar story for the broader push towards STEM/STEAM. Whilst schools are equipped to teach each STEAM subject area, making learning gains from the integrated STEAM approach requires careful thought, planning, development and investment.

To help schools respond, CLWB will be delivering Coding and STEAM (Science Technology Entrepreneurship Arts and Maths) workshops in Australia in February – March 2016.

In October 2015, we ran STEM workshops in Melbourne and Brisbane, and at the Cognitive Acceleration conference in Queensland. We received a clear message at these workshops – “please help us implement the Digital Technologies curriculum – particularly coding – in our schools”. So, we’ll be coming back to Australia in February and March 2016 to run a series of workshops focusing on teaching coding and STEAM.

The CLWB “You Can Teach Coding” workshop will directly teach teachers how to teach coding. The CLWB “Practical Steps to STEAM” workshop will build on our recent STEM workshops and provide opportunities to plan STEAM, and participate in hands-on learning activities.

Option 1: “You Can Teach Coding” @ School

One-day In-School Bespoke Workshop

This is a full-day, in-school bespoke coding workshop for a group of up to 10 teachers paired with up to 10 students. This workshop will not only teach teachers how to code, but also how to teach coding. Participants will be taken from assumed no-knowledge to being confident in teaching with a “General Purpose Programming Language” by the end of the day. The workshop can be used to train student “Digital Leaders” and build a coding culture across the school. Teachers will be given a CLWB Computer Science kit and post-workshop Skype distance support as part of the workshop package.

Option 2: “Practical steps to STEAM” @ School

One-day In-School Bespoke Workshop

This is a full day bespoke workshop focused on creating a STEAM curriculum at your school. In the morning, participants will be lead through Science, Technologies, Arts and Maths subject content. This will be followed by a planning activity aimed at getting maximum learning gains from the STEAM approach, and integrating technology and entrepreneurship into the curriculum. The afternoon session focuses on a practical, hands-on STEAM activity, enabling participants to acquire new skills in Electronics, Programming, Designing and practical ‘Digital Making’. Teachers will be given a CLWB STEAM Kit and post-workshop Skype distance support as part of the workshop package.

Option 3: “You Can Teach Coding” Professional Development 

One-day Teaching Coding workshop

Meet and work with teachers from other schools at this full-day workshop, which will not only teach you to code, but also how to teach coding. Participants will be taken from assumed no-knowledge to being confident in teaching with a “General Purpose Programming Language” by the end of the day. Participants will receive a CLWB Computer Science Kit and 1 post-workshop Skype support, as part of the workshop package.

Option 4: Practical steps to STEAM Professional Development

One-day STEAM workshop

Meet and work with teachers from other schools at this workshop, which builds on the STEM workshop that we ran in Brisbane and Melbourne in October. The workshop will focus on creating a STEAM curriculum within your school. In the morning, teachers will be lead through Science, Technologies, Arts and Maths subject content. This will be followed by a planning activity aimed at getting maximum learning gains from the STEAM approach, and integrating technology and entrepreneurship into the curriculum. The afternoon session focuses on a practical, hands-on STEAM activity, enabling participants to acquire new skills in Electronics, Programming, Designing and practical ‘Digital Making’. Participants will receive a CLWB STEAM Kit and post-workshop Skype support as part of the workshop package.

If you or your school is interested in any of these options please use this form to let us know.

Note: You might be interested in having both Options 1 and 2 in your school over 2 days or you might be interested in sending teachers to workshops covering Options 3 and/or 4 in your area. You may also like to consider having a bespoke workshop in your school and invite other schools in your area to send teachers. Use the “Comments” box to let us know what options you would like.

CLWB at World Skills 2015

St Nicholas World Skills Guilherme

CLWB was proud to present the fantastic work done at St Nicholas School at one of the biggest education events in the world – World Skills 2015.

With an attendance of 200,000 people, and a 212,000 m2 site, World Skills is an extreme demonstration of applied learning. This bi-annual competition enables students under the age of 23 to compete on the world stage on the basis of their demonstrated abilities. The range of skills covered is vast – from aircraft engineering to software, to beauty therapy.

Worldskills2015

CLWB was delighted to be invited by the UK Department of Trade and Industry to present on their stand. The presentation featured children and staff from St Nicholas who showed the work they developed using the CLWB curriculum and learning kits.

St Nicholas HeadTeacher, Nick Thody, said “we’re in the 21st Century right now, and the skills that will be needed are certainly not those that we teach at the moment. I’m keen for children to learn the things that technology won’t be able to take away from them. Children need to learn how to make”.

Head of IT, Darren Burchall introduced the staff, students and their work. Darren explained how “the children take what they learn in the CLWB sessions to Science and Mathematics”.

St Nicholas Darren

Darren also told the story of Roberto Alves de Almeida who until recently was a security guard at the school. Roberto was given the opportunity to join the IT team as trainee, and started a part-time university course. As a result of his engagement in the CLWB project he changed his degree subject to fit the CLWB approach, and is now an in-demand teacher at the school.

The first demo was from Beni and Eduardo, Year 7. They invented an “explanation machine” using wand-activated voice explanations of key concepts such as recycling, DIY and consumerism. The students combined 3 key technologies – Raspberry Pi, Makey Makey and 3d printing into a superb example of ‘Invention-based Learning”.

St Nicholas Explanation Machine

St Nicholas Explanation Machine

Explanation Machine

Maria Elisa (Year 8) talked about how much fun it is to learn through programming and robotics.

St Nicholas World Skills Maria Elisa

Guilherme (Year 8), then talked about the excitement of making things like a phone-controlled car – “WOW, I made that!

Matheus (Year 8), talked about how he never misses a single lesson because he enjoys it so much, and why its so important to learn skills such as programming and making products – “We are in a technological revolution. Every day something new is going to appear. Through robotics we develop skills that we wouldn’t learn elsewhere – groupwork, creativity, innovation, and most importantly problem solving. We can fail 50 times – it doesn’t matter, we work as a team to fix the problems and make a great product. I think we should have programming as an actual subject in schools”.

St Nicholas group

Thanks to the students for their professional performances, and for providing such excellent examples of applied learning. Thanks to the teaching staff – Darren Burchall; Daniel Maranho and Roberto Alves de Almeida Jnr. And a special thanks to Nick Thody for brining CLWB to his school. Thanks also to Vera Oliveira and NneNne Iwuji-Eme at UKTI for inviting and hosting us.

More information – http://www.worldskillssaopaulo2015.com/en/

Raspberry Pi 2.0 + Windows 10 = ?

Piwindows

The news that Raspberry Pi 2.0 will run a free-to-education version of Windows 10 has set Ed Tech social media channels ablaze. And justifiably so – this is undoubtedly a major milestone in the transition from education technology for productivity training to using technology as a platform for learning to be inventive, creative and entrepreneurial.

Raspberry Pi had the same effect on the education market, albeit at much lower volume, that OLPC XO had – it opened a new category of low-cost devices for learning. The flood of competitors to Raspberry Pi was inevitable, and now the latest version – 2.0 – goes on sale.

Processor performance and memory get a boost, and its great that they’ve retained backwards compatibility with older versions.

But the feature that has caught the attention of many is that it will be able to run a version of Windows 10.

The big question – which I’m certain will be hotly debated in the coming months is “why”. On the one hand, one could argue that simplifying the interface will open it up to a wider audience – one that is intimidated by ‘rustic’ feel of Raspbian, and command-line-prompts. On the other hand, one could argue that this new category requires an altogether different type of operating system, custom built for Internet of Things. Wired Magazine, amongst others, comment that Microsoft (like Google etc) want to win the IoT space and has at last recognised that the grassroots efforts of hobbyists are where the products of the future will come from.

However, the reality is that the vast majority of IoT implementations in schools – with Raspberry Pi and its competitors products – are not really IoT at all. They tend to be M2M projects – where a machine talks to another machine, for example a sensor tells a remote Arduino device to trigger a relay that opens a valve and waters a plant at the optimal time. M2M only becomes IoT when multiple M2M systems are strung together with a services layer above it, as Atmel describe in this example from Healthcare –

iot-over-m2m

So, Microsoft’s most significant play in this space is likely to be another type of Windows – Windows in the cloud, or Azure. This could potentially provide the services umbrella that brings together M2M scenarios for learning and the operations of schools.

There’s another ‘but’ though – and its a big one. Many teachers are still finding it hard to implement basic productivity technologies, so how are we going to reach a wider audience with products like the Raspberry Pi? Will it make any difference to the vast majority of teachers that a Raspberry Pi can now run Windows, when so few teachers are confident with neatly packaged technology? How can the learning curves be shortened for teachers – and industry specialists – so that students can realise their inventive potential? What will it take to build a groundswell of teachers that really understand not only the importance of technology in the modern world, but are inspired to play an entirely new game.

The march towards invention based learning is gathering significant pace, and regardless of the device’s reception with a wider audience, Raspberry Pi running Windows is a significant milestone and something to be celebrated.

http://www.raspberrypi.org/raspberry-pi-2-on-sale/