Evolution…Ozobot talks!

Ok, so they may not actually talk but they do make sounds! The new Evo Ozobot looks awesome. For those of us who are already Ozobot fans and educators, this is super exciting.

ozobot-evo-box-packaging-a418abd2The new Evo has sensors which allow it to interact with objects in the environment, it has new lights, a speaker, can make sounds to suggest emotions and allows users to communicate through social media. You can use the Evo with tablets and smartphones. Much like our old favourite 2.0 Ozobot it can be programmed with either colour codes or block coding. New codes have been developed to match the new features, students will enjoy adding sound to their programming.

The sad thing is that us Aussies are not yet able to purchase an Evo 😦

There is a preorder set up on the Ozobot website, however, when trying to place an order from Australia you are hit with a $100US shipping fee! I think you will find that even if you have the money to pay they will notify you that they don’t ship to Australia (as happened to me previously). Let’s hope that Edtech get in on the action quickly and makes them available here.

If you would like more info about the Evo check out the links below:

 

 

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iPad…tick!

 

Using an iPad these days is common practice for many of us. For me it is a vital tool which I carry with me and am never without. Every day I use it for a variety of personal, work and educational purposes. Yesterday it helped me to research and purchase a new oven and dish washer, find an appliance store, watch a movie online, contact a friend, share some documents, check out my weekly lesson plans, catch up on social media, read a book, look for new teaching resources, download worksheets, and wake me up! Much like a mobile phone, iPads have become a must have tool.

Many schools are using them on a 1:1 basis or sharing classroom sets. This of course means that both teachers and students are having to learn how to use them. Luckily this is usually an easy process as iPads have been designed with the user in mind. Students quickly learn how to operate the iPad, they share what they know with their peers and often teach their teacher tips and tricks.

Recording what skills students can do with an iPad can be useful for assessment purposes book-creator-for-ipad-iconand also guide you in what you need to teach them next, with regard to operating an iPad. A couple of people had asked about check lists, so that we can tick off what they know, record the data and move on. I have created two different versions, Version 1. has the basic operating skills which all students should learn, plus skills often used when using a creative application (app) such as Explain Everything or Book Creator. explain-everythingVersion 2. has more complex operational skills which you would expect your older students to accomplish, and also has some browser skills. How you use them is up to you, a simple tick would work to indicate the student can independently use each operating feature or you could use symbols, D for developing, A for achieved, etc.

checklist

The checklists can be found on my resources curriculum page, I would suggest printing them out as an A3 document. I hope they are useful, feel free to share them around. I will be creating other checklists for various digital technology learning areas in the near future.

Assessment D.T. tasks?

Digital technology assessment? Hmmm, so we are teaching great stuff, the kids are loving it. You are learning new skills, the school has invested money for new resources and if you are lucky some great PL opportunities. You may even have had D.T. incursions or excursions, visiting robots certainly add to the buzz! The D.T. unit you developed for the term was a success, the Principal is impressed and the parents can’t stop talking about it. But really the whole point is the result, did your students achieve what was expected?

They may have mastered how to use ‘Scratch’, created a game and had lots of fun in the process, but how do you collate and record what they did when it is all digital? And are they really using computational thinking if they are just following the provided steps and dragging block code onto an editor? We may think we are teaching D.T. by engaging with these resources but perhaps we are not really challenging our students, nor collecting real evidence.

There are many resources out there that are recommended to us as being great for teaching digital technologies. Lots are FREE (Don’t we love that?) and some cost screen480x480us a great deal of money (plus time!), each has value or does it?  For example, I have used Cargo bot with a previous class. For those of you who haven’t tried it here is a video to give you some idea of how it works. It is a great app to demonstrate the use of symbolic code and it can be very challenging. In fact, so challenging that you become frustrated. For our high school students, this resulted in many students off task or students cheating by googling how to solve the various tasks/levels. Well, we did want them problem solving!

If we have to provide evidence of a student’s skill and knowledge of using this app for assessment purposes, what are we going to say? Student A got to level 3 and student B reached level 8, so student B clearly understands symbolic code, pattern and repetition (iteration), or perhaps student B is just better at googling the answers?

Let’s talk about using Ozobots. As you know I am a big fan of these little robots, to the point that I bought my own to play with before introducing them as a teaching device. The Ozobot website provides many lesson plans and workshops. There is challenges along the way and something for every age group (K-12). I have used many of the provided resources, and they are great, but still, I felt that collecting evidence of a student’s true computational thinking abilities is not always evident. Students often help each other, which is a skill we are looking for, collaborative problem solving, but when it comes to assessment for reporting it is individual. One of the ways I have been dealing with this is by modifying the supplied Ozobot lesson plan/workshop. For instance, there is a simple worksheet activity which has students draw a simple compound shaped track and then write the code needed to program the robots. Yes, I said write, a little bit of practice writing code and some evidence collection. With me, the students only attempt this after library_shapetracer-basicthey have become familiar with the basic online editor games, Shape Tracer and Shape Tracer 2.

After finishing the simple activity sheet, I set them a new task. Using graph paper and textas they must draw their own track. I set a few rules:

  • there must be seven or more objects on the page (much like a birds’ eye view of a map-buildings)
  • they must have colour changes within the route (the robots flash various colours)
  • the robots must travel around the buildings/objects
  • they need a start and finish point or they may create a loop (iteration)

I keep it simple as what I am really after is what follows. The students create very different tracks, some are very simple and some extremely complex. I then set the next task which is writing the code (sequence = algorithm) for programming the route. They have their original worksheet to refer to which has a section with the correct coding terminology and choices, such as ‘right turn 90 degrees’, ‘slight left turn 45 degrees’, etc. This helps support the students, they don’t need to concentrate on the terminology, they need to focus on reading their route and finding which code they need for their programming to run successfully. For assessment purposes it gives me an indication of whether they understand the different codes, if they can problem solve by selecting the correct code, add the extra information needed (i.e. number of steps, etc.) and create a sequence (algorithm).

The next step is block coding their written code onto the computer, we use the Ozoblockly editor to do this. Once again students need to demonstrate that they can read/understand editortheir own code, they drag and drop the block code into the required sequence (algorithm). They then program the code onto the robot (from the computer monitor) and run the programmed robot to test if their coding is correct. Here is where they find errors and correct their coding (both online & on their paper coding).

So what have they learned and what can we assess from this activity? Quite a bit, here is a few areas (from various grades) which we have covered:

  • Different types of data, and the same data can be represented in different ways (ACTDIK008)
  • Data is represented using codes (ACTDIK015)
  • Design, modify, follow and represent both diagrammatically, and in written text, simple algorithms (sequence of steps) involving branching(decisions) and iteration (repetition) (ACTDIP019)
  • Implement and use simple visual programming environments that include branching (decisions), iteration (repetition) and user input (ACTDIP020)

Anyone else have assessment ideas to share? What have you been using and doing to collect assessment data?

Little Coders…Take Two!

First up, my apologies for missing two weeks of Sunday blogs. Life has been busy as usual and my role of Nanny ranks higher than daily business. My hubby and I had the pleasure of entertaining and caring for our lovely grandson, let me tell you that this was like a full week at work! My hat goes off to all the parents of a two year old, what a challenge it is to keep up with them 24/7. Having said it was hard work, it was also such a joy, we stomped through puddles, explored the local walk bridge over the river (both on and under), tramped through the Jarrah forest and across the paddocks. Every stick, stone, flower,  insect, animal, bird or bird noise held fascination. He questions everything and expects answers, and with gentle hands explores nature. He is a true scientist in the making.

Now to coding…

My Year 1/2 class has been loving the Ozobot Envelope City activity, over two lessons we have managed to complete the challenge. The change in their knowledge has been fantastic, most of the class now understands the purpose and use of the colour codes (we only used the basic ones). They managed to work in groups with only one group struggling with sharing/turn taking, and even this group completed the task. All students did incorporate the codes allocated to their envelop house into their roads and we all learnt about ‘direction matters’ with colour codes! We discussed why some worked and why some didn’t, we fixed errors or detoured around them. The difference in their application, construction and care between our first make a town activity and this one is vast.

For example:

This was our first ‘Make a Town’ activity attempt, just learning about what colours the sensors read and how the Ozobot reads the coloured lines. What makes a good road? Thin lines? Thick lines? Corners, loops, sharp turns, etc?

2016-08-02 13.56.27Make a town

This is the Envelope City activity…using code with purpose!

Envelope city 2Envelope Challenge 1Envelope city 3

Envelope city 4

After we completed the challenge I let them add more coded roads to their towns, this gave them more tries to get it right. We then went to town decorating our envelope buildings/houses and added all the essentials of a town environment, trees, flowers, fences, parks, etc. After all learning needs to be fun!

We then had a pop quiz, just to check if they had memorised any of the codes. A big ask, as remember we had only had two lessons. I just used my display colour code cards and just held them up with my fingers covering the titles. Then I asked for students to tell me what they were, the response was great. Many had learned them and responded with the correct answer, if they hadn’t I got them to check their mini cards in the envelope houses. All in all, I was very happy with the outcome…learning objective achieved 🙂

Little Coders…try and try again!

The one thing about little coders are they never let you down. They’re always full of beans and excited to be part of your class. This week my little coders (Yr. 1/2) were super keen and had a double dose of coding! They experienced a great robot and coding incursion by Gecko Steps and getting hands on with Ozobots in our DT class.

I was kinda proud when the Gecko Steps presenter asked the class “What do you think these things are? (pointing to holes on front of the robot)” and quick as a flash two students replied with “Sensors! Eyes to see with!”

In the last three lessons, we have looked at robots in real life, learnt about the components of the the Ozobots, discovered that sensors are a bit like your eyes (sensitive) and learn’t about how to draw colour code tracks for our robots. We have begun to learn the basic Ozobot colour code symbols. What we did wrong when drawing these and how to fix them, if we make a mistake?

To stretch their knowledge further and give them a chance to demonstrate what they know, I have designed a fun Ozobot cityscape lesson. I am hoping this will give them more time to absorb and remember the various codes, plus get them problem solving and finding solutions.

The inspiration for the task came from picklebums.com, gotta love that name. Kate Pickle (at least I think that’s her name) has a cute envelop city activity  which looks like loads of fun. My version has student’s coding the roads of their city for Ozobot traffic. Picking up code cards, as they make their way from building to building and problem solving how to use each code to reach their destination.

If you would like a copy of the lesson download it from here Envelope City Challenge 1 Mentioned in the lesson plan is a set of OZOBOT COLOUR CODES cards which I created. You need the cards to complete the lesson. The cards needed to be printed in colour and laminated. They are very useful for teaching any of the Ozobot lessons.

Have a great week everyone 🙂

 

Deconstructing Coding in the Curriculum

We are all time poor! Are you all nodding in agreement? Many of us spend hours of our own time working back in our class rooms after hours, creating resources at home, marking assessments…and the list goes on. So when approached with something new we need to follow some well known advice ‘work smarter not harder’.

This is how I approached my journey at deconstructing the Digital Technologies curriculum. I looked elsewhere for help, why reinvent the wheel if someone else has already broached the subject? The focus topic being, what skills need to be taught and assessed, and for which age group? What I came across during my search was a kind, experienced educator who was happily sharing her knowledge to the world. Glenys Goffett, on her school’s website copacabana-ps.com,  has broken down what she believes should be taught in I.C.T. across the various age groups. Luckily for us this includes coding and robotics. She has also placed a Creative Commons license on her work meaning that we can all share her work among our education community and make alterations to  suit our requirements, as long as we do not use it for commercial purposes (that is sell it for financial gain). What I liked about Glenys’s suggested skills is that it was written in simple plain English, easy for any non techy teacher to understand. A great starting point for most teachers.

Creating robotics2

Screenshot from Glenys Goffett’s  I.C.T. document.

 

After recording the tables of information I sat down to work my way through the Western Australian Digital Technology Curriculum Scope & Sequence. I focused on K-6 and slowly attempted to match  each skill to each strand and content descriptor. Below is what I came up with. At this point I have only looked at Coding, Robotics and iPad use. It may not be perfect but it’s a start and will help guide you in what to teach and assess across the ECE and Primary years.

My DT 2016 S&S Plan PDF     DT 2016 K-6 Plan 1

My DT 2016 S&S Plan WORD Doc.   DT 2016 K-6 Plan 1

Please share…Do you have a plan to share? A useful link? Let me know of any useful resources which may help others further their knowledge of teaching and learning DT.

 

First biscitmx.com blog post!

Welcome everyone to the biscitmx.com blog. At this stage what I hope to do is post a weekly blog, why only weekly? Well, like most of you I am busy working. At the moment I am working four and a half days, teaching Yr.1-10, so life is a little crazy. I am learning new skills across a range of subject areas, including furthering my Digital Technologies knowledge. This semester I am currently teaching coding to Yr. 1/2, Yr. 5/6, Yr. 7/8 and Yr. 9/10.

Last semester I focused on using OZOBOT robots and learning how to code by colour and block coding. We coded with textas and paper, iPads and computers. My Yr. 9/10 class explored augmented reality and how we can use it in a real world environment.

This semester some classes are learning about robots and are coding with the OZOBOT for the first time. My Yr. 7/8 class are beginning the journey in using and creating with script code. We are using Microsoft Small Basic, a very simple start that is user friendly with a series of lessons available online to help get them started. I like Small Basic because it is FREE, always a bonus, and because of its simplicity. I didn’t want to scare students off with complex script writing. We have also been looking at the history of gaming and gaming consoles. Students are playing and writing reports on a game (pre 1999). It has been fun with me having serious flashbacks to my childhood…Pong anyone? The students have had previous experience block coding and creating games with Scratch. As we become more familiar with Small Basic script coding we will create our own retro style game.

On my learning agenda is 3D printing. I hope to teach myself Tinker cad and get our newly purchased 3D printer up and running. My first project is looking at printing ‘print blocks’ to use in both my Textiles and Graphic Design classes. I am hoping that this may reduce the time frame required when creating lino print blocks, and perhaps the quality of the prints onto fabric or paper. I will let you know how it goes. Any advice would be very appreciated, so please do share what you have tried, what worked or what didn’t.