Sunday, April 14, 2019

my educational computing CV update

In the past couple of years I have renewed my computer ed development, building on a strong commitment earlier in my career.

I’m teaching Year 7 computing at __________. I wrote a course based on the ACARA Digital Technologies criteria but can only deliver it in part due to the limited lesson allocation (one term per class, 2 lessons a week).

For these lesson I’ve focused on computer coding using Scratch 3 and the Creative Computing Curriculum Guide (Scratch 3.0) developed by The Creative Computing Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

I’m continuing to explore new ways of making computer coding accessible to students who previously have been disenfranchised, such as the indigenous and girls, as follows:
  • developed a set of indigenous icons suitable for use in Scratch and have used these successfully in class. On my list of things to do is to develop on screen indigenous art using Turtle Art / Turtle Blocks (Brian Silverman version; Walter Bender version)
  • purchased a Lilypad Arduino Sew Electric Kit which brings together craft, electronic and programming, producing wearable products.
  • purchased a Chibitronics Love to Code kit which uses electronic circuits on paper in a storybook format.
  • continuing my research by reading online PhD theses by Tom Lauwers, Debra Bernstein and Jennifer Cross available through Bird Brain Technologies Research page
  • I've just ordered a Hummingbird bit which from my research is the best robot building tool around at this point
I completed two courses run by the Computer Science Education Research Group at The School of Computer Science, The University of Adelaide (CSER MOOCs). These were:
  • CSER F-6 Digital Technologies: Foundations course
  • Years 7 and 8 Digital Technologies: Next Steps Making Apps course
The latter course utilised MIT App Inventor and using this program I’ve written several apps for my Android phone

I have published one of my apps online (“Arrernte Language”) which improves the learning of an indigenous language (Arrernte) and could be easily modified for any other language. For me, this was a challenging app to build, my friend Paul helped a lot in a collaborative effort.

Following these courses I read more widely and wrote and published “The teaching of coding” (2,100 words) which outlines a creative and productive way to teach coding.

The latest theory and practice advocates active collaboration between students in the learning of programming. This is built into the online Scratch site (especially with the Remix feature). With this in mind I have also explored the Collabrify suite developed by Elliot Soloway and Cathie Norris.

I’ve purchased a Tello drone and explored its functions

I read “Internet on the Outstation” by Ellie Rennie and co about the still unsolved problems of providing Internet to very remote locations in Australia

I explored the possibility of using RACHEL (Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning) to solve the problem of poor Internet access to very remote Australians. It's a portable plug-and-play server which stores educational websites and makes that content available over any local (offline) wireless connection

TANGIBLES and the BBC micro:bit
An important recent development in digital education has been low cost tangible devices with microcontrollers which have a beyond the screen input output functionality. I’ve spent a lot of time with the BBC micro:bit, learning MakeCode and MicroPython and have:
  • written a preliminary course outline
  • run micro:bit workshops for IndigiMOB in three Alice Springs town camps and at the Polly Farmer after school program at Centralian Middle School
  • explored micro:bit extensions into electronics with the Kitronik and Monk Makes kits.


I have:
  • been recognised as a CEGSA (Computing Education Group of South Australia) Leading Light (acknowledging contributions to ICT in Education) in both 2006 and 2007
  • designed courses at Year 11 level which integrate Scratch (Logo) into an ideas-design-evaluate-develop framework
  • run in service sessions in Scratch software for Woodville High School (South Australia) staff and at CEGSA conferences
  • written papers and presented talks at conferences about Logo philosophy and related issues: game making, Seymour Papert's constructionism and Alan Kay's educational philosophy
  • initiated blogs and wikis that evaluated the software on the One Laptop Per Child initiative, which included Scratch and Etoys, another visual drag and drop programming language
  • developed expertise with SNAP, a more high powered reimplementation of Scratch, for upper secondary and University level Computer Science.
  • experience in teaching text based programming languages, in particular, Python

I am an advocate and active user of Open Source software since it is free and often very good. I note the potential of indigenous language dictionaries being incorporated into Libre Office.

I have a long term ongoing interest in the issue of affordable / cheap, reliable computing hardware. I was an active participant in the OLPC (one laptop per child) project and pursue an interest in Raspberry Pi and tablets.

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