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.

Australian Technologies Curriculum – STEM Workshops

Australian Technologies Curriculum

Following the recent approval of the Australian Technologies Curriculum, CLWB with Intuyu Consulting and Cognitive Architecture ran a series of STEM workshops in Victoria and Queensland.

Based on the recent Leadership at the Speed of Thought program, Mike Lloyd gave a worldwide view of how technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ‘Internet of Things’ are disrupting the world of work, opening up new opportunities and threats, and the implications of these developments for education.

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Participants were then guided through a mapping of the new Australian Curriculum to STEM activities, and shown where technologies and new pedagogies can make the most learning impact.

Following this, teams created one-year STEM plans for their schools.

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A key component in STEM is multi-disciplinary projects, so teachers finished the workshop by designing, building and programming a Wearable solution using a CLWB Wearable kit. This gave them the opportunity to develop new skills and understanding – e.g. Programming, Design, Making and the science behind conductive thread.

We were delighted to bring an edited version of the workshop to the Cognitive Accelaration Conference, Australia –

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Mike would like to thank Adrian and Rachel at Intuyu; Tim Smith from Cognitive Architecture; Mt Alvernia College, Brisbane and Genazzano College, Melbourne, and all the participants at the workshops.

Innovative Students – Conference Presentation Video

Mike Lloyd’s keynote address at “Building Skills”, Athens. Thanks to all at the British Council, Microsoft and InEdu in Greece.

Codex Launch

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In October we were delighted to announce our partnership with {Codex} in Espirito Santo, Brazil. The Codex project is about building and operating “micro-schools” using the CLWB curriculum and content. CLWB provided a range of services, including design, training and the learning platform. The model is similar to English schools, but with the learning focus on ‘Invention-Based Learning’. We jointly launched the program on October 17th in Vitoria, with Programming, Computer Science, and Robotics demos from children and the Codex tutors. At the end of November Codex ran its first Electronic classes. Check out the Codex website here – http://codex-es.com.br

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Standing room only at CLWB Launch Event

Bakhita Event

There was standing room only for a display of three month’s of intense learning at the CLWB@Bahita event last week. Key items:

  • “Forca Zombie” (introduction to programming, and applied Maths)
  • Electrical Circuits – breadboards and basic components
  • E-Christmas card – conductive ink
  • E-Textiles – washable electronics
  • USB Robot
  • Makey Makey Orchestra – “Satisfaction” with cups of water!
  • Arduino Robot – sensors and motors
  • Raspberry Pi programming
  • Explorer project – applied maths, astronomy, and early navigation technology
  • Drone demo – how do drones work?
  • 3d Printing – Metamaquina opens up a world of learning
  • Eduardo Zancul, University of Sao Paulo – Keynote. Digital Making, maker spaces, impacts on new economics of manufacturing, skills needed to participate in this new world
  • The parent’s perspective – Learning value from children’s involvement in CLWB@Bakhita?

Thanks to the wonderful v-team – all of the CLWB children at Bakhita; Rafael Martins; Dani Ono; Marcio Pires; Paulo Silvestre; Eduardo Zancul; Felipe Sanches; Nivaldo and the team at Webcasters; and Carmen Nigro.

Watch the full video (1hr 50 mins) here: http://v3.webcasters.com.br/visualizador.aspx?CodTransmissao=193103

LEARNING IMPACTS  

  • See individual videos of what the children at Bakhita have learned here on the Learning Impacts section on this site.
  • Congratulations to Oliver, Louise and Jo at Cadoxton for posting their learnings from their Aeronautics project
  • Whilst its not a learning impact that CLWB can claim, we are proud that all of the children at Nelson Mandela School in San Luis  passed their Trinity English exams with great marks. One teacher even got 3 As. Congratulations!

Putting the “i” into Singapore Schooling

With top rankings in PISA and TIMMS, Singapore is the envy of many schooling systems around the world. Whilst ICT is just one of a range of factors that affect learning outcomes, it is a key tool for meeting at least two of the four key desired outcomes of the Singapore schooling system – for all students to become self-directed and collaborative learners.

Singapore was one of the first countries in the world to have a national strategy for ICT in Schools. A succession of well-planned, funded and executed programmes focussing initially on infrastructure and training, and more recently focussing on self-directed learning – has driven effective use of ICT. For details of Singapore’s main ICT projects, see http://wp.me/P16Iyp-46

A great showcase for the effectiveness of this investment is Crescent Girls’ School, a member of the “Future School” programme, and recently awarded the status of Mentor School by Microsoft. Crescent also hosted the CRADLE conference on 1st – 3rd August.

On the surface, Crescent could be any other Secondary School, but a quick glance at the trophy cabinet next to the reception makes it clear that this school is totally committed to high performance. Crescent’s aim is to be at the forefront of harnessing technology to enhance learning outcomes. ICT is used extensively in both delivery and assessment and the school’s 1300 students each have their own Tablet PC. The goal of using ICT is to give students a degree of choice over what they learn and how they learn.

The students engage in a wide range of activities including 2D, 3D animation and robotics; multimedia production; photo-shooting and editing; and development and use of e-books. Particularly impressive is the use of Tablet PCs’ “inking” features for a range of activities including highly impressive manga artwork.

Crescent is moving towards project based learning with a series of “Integrated Secondary Curricula” programmes.

Virtual Reality is used at the school too. For example, in Geography, students experience immersive content showing erosion in a river – a concept that is much easier to grasp when viewing 3d animated rocks being swept along by the current from the perspective of the river bed.

Particularly impressive at Crescent is the way that teachers engage in the content creation process. For example, a complete suite of applications and content have been developed for the Tablet PC that not only exploits the pen and inking technologies but also address a range of different learning styles.

Taking this process further, teachers specified collaborative games to take advantage of the MultiTouch features in Windows 7 and HueLabs’ “Heumi” multitouch (Surface) devices. This means that students can now engage in a wide range of collaborative learning experiences, such as learning to write Chinese. As impressive as the technology itself is the way in which the room in which the Heumi devices are deployed. Here, in the “iCove”, strong colour coding of the devices and the seating, enable teachers to group learners according to their learning objectives.

More recently the school has introduced a biometric system that not only automatically records the students as present but takes their temperatures as they come into the school in the morning, enabling their health to be monitored.

The infrastructure that sits behind Crescent’s ICT provision is highly impressive. The infrastructure foundation is a Campus-wide wireless network with 100 Mbps Broadband. Tablet PCs are stored in steel lockers, and batteries are charged at charging stations.

Approximately 30 on-premises servers perform a range of essential back-end functions from authentication to content management. The Server infrastructure – based on a Microsoft platform – supports a rich tapestry of capabilities including:

  • i-Connect Learning Space – a role based portal for organising student’s learning and activities
  • Pearson’s Write to Learn – a system that helps “automate” the marking of essays
  • HeuX – Huelabs Classroom Management System – with lesson management, digital book library, real-time Communication and Collaboration include notes-sharing and social media; screen monitoring and broadcasting; Presence awareness; attendance; Video Conferencing
  • i-Media – content management system.
  • Interactive books

These solutions are supported by Windows Server; SQL Server; Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server; System Center; Live Communications Manager; Hyper-V and Live@Edu. Much of the learning that takes place at Crescent happens after school hours, and the Virtual Private Network enables students to have 24×7 access. It’s not uncommon to see the portal being used by students at home at 2.00AM.

Singapore schools benefit from very high quality teachers (only 10% of applicants get admitted into teacher training). This is reflected in the staff at Crescent. Principal, Mrs Eugenia Lim, supported by Chief Technology Architect for Learning, Mr Lee Boon Keng, have a highly structured and team orientated approach, underpinned by a strong focus on continuous professional development.

Every hour, the chimes of Big Ben ring across the school signifying a change of lesson. As with Cornwallis School in Kent in the UK, I was totally inspired by what I saw at Crescent but couldn’t help wondering whether a shift from time-based to a performance-based model would better fit such a technology rich approach to learning. Nonetheless, Crescent’s use of ICT is without doubt world leading.

Whilst Crescent Girls’ School is clearly a leader amongst leaders, it’s far from unique in Singapore in the way in which it innovates with technology. Singapore schools benefit from long term, consistent policy and investment in ICT in schooling. With their structured approaches, strong management and deep understanding of how ICT can make learning more effective, Singapore schools look set to continue to show the world how it’s done.

Fortunately for us all, Crescent Girls’ School are “giving back” by encouraging people to visit the school – both physically and virtually.

Thanks to Eugenia Lim, Lee Boon Keng and all the staff and students at Crescent Girl’s School.