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  1. Education Technology Research Focus: Steve Wheeler
  2. Book review: Go on, bore ‘em: how to make ICT lessons excruciatingly dull
  3. A surprise in the world of educational computing that was rather pleasant (for a change)
  4. My Informatics scheme of work part 1
  5. Assessing Computing: the need for a manual override option
  6. Search ICT and Computing in Education
  7. Prior Mailing Archive

Education Technology Research Focus: Steve Wheeler

Steve WheelerSteve publishes the Learning with E's blog. The articles are not only very thought-provoking, they often also include references so you can follow up the reading for yourself. At the moment, Steve is writing a great series on learning theories. I asked him to tell me about his current research.

What are you currently working on that has an ed tech focus?

At present we are working on integrating new media into the curriculum of teacher education. We have just migrated our content across to Moodle which is our new institutional Digital Learning Environment. I'm also incorporating several new components into our specialist Computing/ICT student modules in preparation for the new academic year. This includes programmable tools such as Makey Makey, Raspberry Pi and robotics.

Why is it important to ICT/Computing teachers?

These new components make sense to include because the new primary curriculum (for non academy schools at least) covers coding. It makes sense that our new teachers are as familiar with programmable tools as possible, so they can hit the ground running when they are in school experience.

Where can teachers find out more about it?

My own blog and those of my colleagues (Especially Clare Fenwick, Duncan Lloyd, Oliver Quinlan and Pete Yeomans) will undoubtedly carry content related to teaching these new areas of education development in the near future. Mine can be found at Learning with E's

What opportunities are there for teachers to become involved (eg pilot study, beta versions of an app, etc)

We often create tweet hashtags that represent the activities and conversations we are having in our module seminars. You can follow me on Twitter at @timbuckteeth and have conversations with our staff, students and others who participate in our teaching sessions remotely. Any education professional, regardless of their location, is welcome to participate in conversation with our students as they explore learning.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Learning with E's

(Disclosure: this is an affiliate link)

My new book, Learning with 'e's (see above) -- which is based on some of my more notorious or popular blog posts, and expanded to include new trends, technologies and pedagogy theories -- is published in January* through Crown House. To give you a teaser, some of the chapters have titles such as 'new learning architectures', and 'the shape of minds to come.' I wrote it with teachers and education students in mind, and the strap line is: educational theory and practice in the digital age.

About Steve Wheeler

Steve is Associate Professor of learning technology in the Plymouth Institute of Education at Plymouth University, where is also subject lead for Computing and ICT on the B.Ed (Hons) and Post-Graduate Certificate of Education programmes. He chairs the Professional Enhanced Learning Conference (Pelecon), and serves on the editorial boards of a dozen international journals, including the open access publications Research in Learning Technology (formerly ALT-J), Digital Culture and Education, European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning and The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. In addition, he is a Fellow of the European Distance and E-learning Network (EDEN) and a member of EDEN's NAP steering group. His research interests include learning technology, cybercultures, creativity and social media.

*Steve’s book is out now. It’s very interesting to read, though I don’t agree with all of it. I’ll review it in due course. Non-disclosure: I was invited to write something for the back cover from a pre-publication edition of the book. This has not influenced my opinions.


This article first appeared in Digital Education, the free newsletter for those with a professional interest in educational ICT and Computing. One of the benefits of subscribing – apart from access to unique content – is articles in a timely manner. For example, this article was published in the October 2014 edition.To sign up, please complete the short form on our newsletter page. We use a double opt-in system, and you won’t get spammed.

    


Book review: Go on, bore ‘em: how to make ICT lessons excruciatingly dull

Michelle Liga writes...

boremMr. Freedman uses his extensive experience to write a clear and concise booklet on the different ways he has observed teachers instructing  their students straight into boredom purgatory.  But, he also explains how the lesson could have been changed to make it more interesting. 

This booklet is a little dated (2006), and is written for the UK.  But I believe that every teacher can find something relevant in this material.  I can say after reading this booklet that I have found out on a few occasions I have indeed bored my own students.  Pick up a copy today.

Michelle Liga

Technology Integration Specialist - Preston County Schools

Terry writes...

At the moment, I’ve suspended sales of this book because of the changes in tax law in the EU -- See Ebook sales end today. I’llannounce the resumption of sales on this website and in Digital Education (see below) as soon as possible.


Paperless office?

Your newsletter editor is hard at work sifting through the submissions for Digital Education, the free newsletter for education professionals. Have you subscribed yet?

Read more about it, and subscribe, on the Newsletter page of the ICT in Education website.

We use a double opt-in system, and you won’t get spammed.


    

A surprise in the world of educational computing that was rather pleasant (for a change)

Over the years I’ve become almost inured to the inanities of the online world, and especially their manifestations in the world of education. So when I received an email declaring “Congratulations, you have won an award!” my first thought was “Oh yeah? I suppose all I have to do is submit my bank details and complete a 38 page questionnaire over a premium telephone line.”

However, this was one occasion when the cynical view, contrary to what George Bernard Shaw would have us believe, proved not to be the true one, because I had indeed won an award. As I had not even been aware I had been nominated, this was even more of a surprise. It was given under the auspices of the 2014 Technology and Innovation Awards, for being a technology and innovation ambassador. Well, I hadn’t even realised I was undertaking that role, although it makes sense: we are all ambassadors for, or advocates of, something. It’s nice to be thought of as making a reasonable job of it.

Helen Mulley, Editor of Teach Secondary, presenting me with the Award at Bett 2015A close up of the Award

But the purpose of this article is not to boast as such, but to thank the Teach Secondary people for having such an award in the first place, the lovely people who nominated me for it, and the people who voted for me. It’s all very much appreciated.

The certificate has pride of place in my home, and whenever we receive visitors I make sure I sit them where they cannot fail to notice it (I’m just joshin’!). It was presented to me by the editor of Teach Secondary, Helen Mulley, at Bett 2015.

I will not allow this to go to my head, although I will expect gentlemen to doff their hats when they encounter me in future.


 

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My Informatics scheme of work part 1

I thought it would be interesting to dig out my scheme of work for Information Technology – as it was then then – from 1997. It was based on the Informatics scheme of work published by the now defunct organisation Acitt. Acitt was a subject association for ICT Co-ordinators. I helped to shape the Acitt scheme of work, but the one I used myself was a variation, adjusted to meet the circumstances pertaining to my school. I’ve reproduced it below.

Girls at computers. Photo by Laura Blankenship https://www.flickr.com/photos/lorda/It’s difficult to tell what skills each unit addressed, because they were centred on problem-solving and were organised as projects. We adopted a model based on Bruner’s Spiral Curriculum, by which concepts are introduced at increasing levels of complexity throughout the course.

By the time we get to Year 8 (13 years old), projects take almost a whole term (10-12 weeks) instead of only half a term apart from a revision period for the first few weeks. By Year 10 (15 years old), they each take a whole term, reflecting the greater depth and breadth we expected from students by that age.

One project – Traffic lights and Pelican crossings –fairly obviously involved programming, data-logging and control. But less obviously, a number of other projects also involved those elements – or could do if the student decided it was appropriate. For example, Parties and Presents involved “What if” scenarios that could be tackled via spreadsheet functions or Visual Basic for Applications, while the Library project invited students to cogitate and speculate on how a library of the future might look. Interestingly, many of the students’ predictions, such as automated notifications and delivery to your home computer, have since become commonplace.

You will notice that most of the topics are covered by each year group. That is because we introduced the new scheme of work to every year group at once. Once the scheme had been running for a year, students who had already covered a particular topic were either given a new one, or expected to revisit the topic in greater depth. The reasons for introducing the scheme to everyone at the same time were partly to reduce teacher workload – it’s hard to juggle two or more different schemes of work simultaneously – and partly – mostly, in fact – because the existing schemes of work being taught were not very good in my opinion. They were unchallenging, and therefore boring. Students can’t be hoodwinked: one of them described one such course as “Mickey Mouse”, and I agreed.

I’m not sure I would change an awful lot were I to introduce a scheme like this today. I would certainly give it a facelift, by changing the Record Shop to Music Streaming or something like that, but as the scheme was problem-based and involved project-based learning, I’d be more than happy to dust it off and put it back into active service.

Here's the scheme. You will need to look at the original I think unless you have phenomenal eyesight:

Two pages were all we needed for the outline of a scheme of work covering 5 years

One final thing. You will notice that all it contains is a list of Project titles. So where did the detail come from? I’ll explore that question next time.


 

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Assessing Computing: the need for a manual override option

When I was crazy about film-making as a teenager (see I was a teenage geek) I never liked using fully automated cameras. Yes, they were convenient, and they saved you the bother of having to think too much, and the results were passable. But they left no room for exercising one’s professional judgement. Using a camera with a manual override button enabled you to find out what the camera “thought” the aperture and other settings should be, and then use them as a basis for your own decision.

Progress is not always -- or even usually -- smotth, and you should be able to tweak your assessment system to reflect that factI was reminded of all this when I attended the Bett show last week. Assessment systems are being built into all sorts of applications now, and rightly so. All the ones I looked at have been aligned to National Curriculum criteria, and save the teacher a great deal of typing. But no assessment system should save the teacher having to think, which is why I always asked: “Can you move the suggested ‘Level’ up or down based on your own professional judgement and knowledge of the pupil?”

It seems to me that this is a fundamental requirement, though not the only one. You can read my views on other prerequisites of any assessment system here:

The 6 Fundamental Computing Assessment Scheme Questions


If you attended Bett and saw some interesting things, please consider writing about them for the next edition of Digital Education (see below). Contact me for further details.


Paperless office?

Your newsletter editor is hard at work sifting through the submissions for Digital Education, the free newsletter for education professionals. Have you subscribed yet?

Read more about it, and subscribe, on the Newsletter page of the ICT in Education website.

We use a double opt-in system, and you won’t get spammed.


    



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