Coding tools for students P-12

A terrific article by Kira DeVaul featured in Common Sense Media’s summer edition (for the US and Europe) presents some great options for teachers to use in their classrooms and give to their students to explore around coding. She has organised these into three levels which cover all school levels. I have done a bit of a tweek for Australian schools.

At the primary level, kids can learn to code using these tools that focus on the foundations of programming: problem-solving, logic, and critical thinking. By learning these skills early and through the context of code, kids are empowered to become creators, not just consumers, of the technology they’re growing up with.
Middle years students might be at different levels of familiarity, but these tools are applicable to every level of knowledge — from more building block-style tools great for beginners to advanced tutorials that get students using real languages to make apps, websites, and games.
The secondary school  tools will help students build this essential 21st-century literacy by learning how code works and how to write code themselves. Once they’re up to snuff, coding will give your students a new way to demonstrate knowledge and express themselves.
Kira’s  full top picks list for elementary, middle school, and high school coding apps, games, and websites.


Posted in Curriculum, Digital Learning, Digital Literacy, Digital Technologies, Programming

FUSE Victorian government teachers can login!

Just a reminder to Victorian Government teachers that when they use FUSE they have their owfusen desktop to create and share resources with their students. Once they login (with their Edumail details) they can upload their own content to share it directly with their students, package it up with other digital resources and send it directly, or create a link to share with students. NB their students don’t need to login to anything.

Here is one I prepared earlier.

Here is an example of a package that I created within the package.

“Ancient Rome” a valuable teaching and learning resource.

Posted in Online Resources

Subscribe to Splash

The ABC has teamed up with Education Services Australia to link new learning resources directly to the SplashAustralian Curriculum.

To date, they offer resources in the areas of Science, English, Mathematics, History, Geography, The Arts and STEM. To learn more about ABC Splash, teachers are invited to sign up to their weekly newsletters 


Posted in Online Resources

Global2 templates expiring time to get mobile

The template you are using is about to expire. What is that all about?

You might have seen within the back end of Global2 a message that the template you are using is due to expire in a set (and decreasing) number of days.

With the increased uptake of mobile phones, tablets and technologies,  the need for a website to be mobile friendly is really important for your audience but there are online consequences: See Google punishes clunky mobile sites.

It is as simple as logging into Global2 and selecting a new theme

If you want your blog to display nicely on all devices including phones, tablets and desktops, it is better to use a mobile friendly theme.

Mobile friendly themes, also known as responsive themes, are designed to optimize the theme based on which device someone is using to view your blog.

All mobile friendly themes are listed under this category in Appearance > Themes (Mobile Friendly tab)

It is like putting on a new suit. Your content will remain but it may look different and you might have to make some adjustments to colours etc. BUT If you have custom designed a header make a copy of that (Right click and save as image) just in case.  You can then replace it safely.

You will be best looking for a design similar your current blog. (same number of columns etc)Picture1

All of your posts will remain. If anything looks like it has disappeared it will still be in your system, you will just need to look for it to represent it.

They say you should never work with children and dogs. I am going to add technology to that!!  But just as we love working with the fun and ever changing spirit of the students we teach, it’s the fun and changing spirit of the technology we love too (I promise) Oh ..… dogs are great too!

Posted in Blogs, Digital Technologies

Sir Ken Robinson … because you tread on my dreams

Over the holidays I have featured some resources  on Global2 that you might not find time to view in a hectic school term.

This talk Bring on the learning revolution has been presented as the follow-up to Sir Ken Robinson’s  fabled 2006 talk  Do schools kill creativity? It seems to be relatively low key by comparison, but I dare you to watch this and not feel the reference because you tread on my dreams, referenced within the  Yeats poem and contextualised within this Ted Talk.

“The cloths of heaven”

Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light;
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Posted in Pedagogy, Professional Learning

50 Ted Talks every educator should check out (2014 Edition)

Over the holidays is a great chance to take some time to relax but also check out some of these Ted Talks. Compiled from Open Colleges here are 50 Ted Talks every educator should check out

These are the best TED Talks for any educator because they make us laugh, warm our hearts, break down barriers, and always inspire us to dig a little deeper and push a little harder.

I am adding another to the list – ‘Larry Lessig says the law is strangling creativity’. Be prepared for a big laugh at the end as some of user generated content.

Posted in Curriculum, Digital Learning, Digital Technologies, Pedagogy

Online story creation tool

PBS presents a really engaging writers studio for students. cwIt features a really simple sign in process which collects NO personal information about students. They create a non identifying login and a simple password is set up for them. They get to select some support questions eg favourite food, animal and colour? and get to use the great tools to create exciting books online.   Teachers do need to check that they are not posting their personal information in the book.

Posted in Student activities

Design Squad – Creative activities for the holidays

The Design Squad site targets kids ages 8 and older and features creative activities,  DSvideo, interactive games, and contests. The goal is to give kids a stronger understanding of the design process, and the connection between engineering and the things we all use in everyday life.

A great site for the holidays   See what you can build

Posted in Challenge, Class Activities, Student activities

Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with topics

Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with ‘topics’ as country reforms its education system

Marjo Kyllonen, Helsinki’s education manager – who will be presenting her blueprint for change to the council at the end of this month, said: “It is not only Helsinki but the whole of Finland who will be embracing change.

“We really need a rethinking of education and a redesigning of our system, so it prepares our children for the future with the skills that are needed for today and tomorrow.

Pupils at Siltamaki primary school perform a rap as part of their cross-subject learning (Jussi Helttunen)
“There are schools that are teaching in the old fashioned way which was of benefit in the beginnings of the 1900s – but the needs are not the same and we need something fit for the 21st century.” Read RICHARD GARNER‘s UK Independent article  here 

Posted in Curriculum, Health Education, History, Literacy, LOTE, Mathematics, music, Reading, Science

18 ways to use a single iPad in the music classroom

Even if you have only one iPad there are still lots of ways you can use it with your students, especially if you can plug it into a data projector and speakers. Midnight Music have presented 18 practical ideas for teachers. Go to teh link for the full list of ideas. Many of these ideas are also great for students to drive themselves or to work in small groups. 

1. Practice note names

Use an app like Staff Wars, Flashnote Derby or Noteworks – which all work in a similar way – to teach students on notes of the staff. To ensure your whole class is involved, you can make note identification into a game:

Connect your iPad to the data projector and fire up the app. You are the one to operate the app and start the note identification game. As notes appear on the screen, students can write down the note names on a piece of paper. You can secretly identify the note correctly, leaving it as late as possible so students have the maximum time to come up with an answer. You’ll also need to make a note of the correct answers as you go! At the end, students can correct their answers. This would work well as a team game.

2. Practice sight-reading rhythms

With your iPad connected to the data projector, start up one of the levels in the Rhythm Cat app (or something similar). The rhythm that appears on the screen can be played by the class as a group – using body percussion or classroom instruments. Students (or you the teacher) can tap the rhythm on the screen of the iPad.

3. The funky metronome

Set up a drum pattern in GarageBand (use the Smartdrums to generate a quick rhythm), Drumjam or DM1 in a style of your choosing. Use the drum pattern to accompany class ensemble arrangements, or scales in band/orchestra/choir rehearsal. Much more interesting than a plain old metronome!

Check out the full 18 ideas 


Posted in Class Activities, music

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