So if like me, you have been teaching ICT for a number of years, then you’ll realise how quick things have changed over the years. I remember when I was at school in year 8… I’m now 26, our ICT teacher had us using MSW Logo and the turtle which crawled around the carpet. This was awesome, it helped our maths and there was a cute little turtle going around the floor. It also helped students understand basic programming skills such as repeat. Many of the students didn’t realise the steps which linked into programming. Years on and I start teaching ICT and some students are still using logo. It was like a blast from the past.
Since starting my position at Uppingham Community College, I’ve started introducing something a little different to the students. I have introduced Kodu. Students are learning the basics of programming with comparisons such as greater than or less than. They’re learning simple computer science such as “When” something happens, the reaction is “Do”. My year 7 and year 8 students absolutely love it! We’ve started an extra curricular club at lunch times and some of the year 7’s are even helping out year 10 students. The students have really got to grips with this and are have made many different types of games. These are from shooting games to old arcade games such as Pac-Man. The only difficulty with Kodu is that you can’t create your own characters. Saying this, why would you need to with the range of different characters you have. My students write their stories behind their games as if the characters are evil beings from space. Give a student enough imagination and they’ll do anything!
In case many of you aren’t familiar with Kodu, you can see a clip of making a quiz in the video below. Students are able to make similar games.
Now that my students have become masters at Kodu, I can’t help but think that the students should get their teeth into something else. This is where TouchDevelop comes in.
Touch develop is a great tool which allows anyone with a WindowsLiveID to build mobile phone / tablet applications. You can log in using a Facebook or Google account. The great thing about it is that you can build some really simple applications to begin with. For example, I’ve attached a video which shows you how to move a pen up and down and how to repeat. These are basic instructions which were included back in the day with MSWLOGO. The great thing about this is that our students have a much bigger imagination. Our students are able to build applications which we wouldn’t have thought off years ago. I’m currently starting to develop a scheme of work around the use of this. Check out an introductory video below to see the effectiveness off this.
Some of the functionality:
- Swipe screens
- Type in user input and react based on what is typed.
- Make games
- Link to other services
So this now leads me to believe that if students can grasp Kodu, then why not something like touch develop! I’m going to start trialling some KS3 lessons soon and I’ll let you know how they get on with it! I.T is changing for the better and there are more programming opportunities out their for students. As I.T specialists we need to grasp these opportunities and move our students away from some of the basic “PowerPoint” scenarios which are floating around. I am looking to develop a scheme of work around “TouchDevelop”. Once it is ready, I will uploading it for your own enjoyment.
Check out the short video tutorial below in order to see how you can get your first application running.
Following on from three Virtual Universities, I was expected to submit a Mock up design which would allow students to improve their education. My subject specialism is I.T, however I decided that it would be much more beneficial, if I designed an application for anyone to use. I design an application which allowed students to take spell tests. They would be able to try out difficult words and they would be able to play games based on the score they had. Upon gaining 5 points, they would be able to play a game and continue until they received a high score.
I received an email this week saying that I would be one of the 21 educators through to the event in London. The selection of educators was worldwide and I am honoured to be one of these.
I will keep you updated in time with my development ideas and I will let you know how I progress in the competition.