So day 2 came to the appathon! It was 1pm and everyone had to pitch their ideas to the competition. There were presentations from all of the educators around the world. There were some really good ideas from everyone. My personal favourite was from a set of twins from the Ukraine. There names were Oleksii and Oleksandr Tebenko. They had an idea for a brain training game which allowed people to use match sticks to train their brain. They had memory games to help students remember things as well as games where students could draw an image.
Another fun game which was good was from Adrian Nita from Romania. He made a really cute game which had maths games and monsters. The idea of the game was to get past monsters by answering math questions. It seemed like a really fun and I could see students really relating to the game. He had made all of the graphics himself and the monsters were a really engaging touch.
Bram Faems had a really good idea. Bram was from belgium. His idea was for children telling their parents about their day. It was called “Honey how was your day”. I really liked this idea. Bram did not manage to get his concept complete but his idea was very useful. Many students come home from school and parents don’t know what they’ve been up to. His idea would be that the child can take photo’s from their day and talk about what they’ve done. He talked about autistic children being able to show what they’ve done and being proud. Not all children are able to communicate effectively and it is essential that they have some means of communication. I really liked this idea.
After we had all presented our ideas, the winners were announced a dinner later on. Everyone’s applications were reviewed for their educational impact, concept and there was also a prize for our favourite we had voted for. The winners were:
Evgen – Overall Winner
Oleksii and Oleksandr – Peoples choice
Tommy Maher – Best Concept
The overall winner received a Microsoft Surface and the peoples choice and best concept received a windows phone. It was so amazing to be around all of these people and I am more determined to use the TouchDevelop platform now.
Back to work I go! – Wednesday!
BETT SHOW – Presenting On Thursday
Thursday was a very important day for David Renton and I. We were up to present on the Live Learn Space (D). We were presenting about our use of the Kinect to engage students and the use of Kodu and Touch Develop. We were presenting as 2/5th of the K-Team. We had got together last year after our passion for the Kinect. We also have Stuart Ball to thank for bringing all of us together. I kicked off the presenting with some information about Kodu.
Kodu is a really engaging tool which enables children to start programming from a very early age. It is visual programming language which allows children to make video games in a 3D environment. I talked about it’s importance in education. It is useful for all subjects, not just computer science. For example, you can use Kodu to build trenches and you can relate this to history.
Moving on from this we talked about the launch of the Kodu Kup! The competition is open to all 7-14 year old students and teachers need to join and create a profile on the Partners In learning Network. Once the teacher is happy, they can make their chosen submission to the competition. Students will need to design the cover for their game and they will also need to work in a team. Find out more from the link above.
Now it came to the fun bit of the presentation. We had a few glitches with the Kinect picking up co-presenters behind us, however we managed to get all bugs sorted once we had set the stage up appropriately. We talked about how engaging the Kinect can be and I included results from my own classes to support the impact.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the presentation and we were truly honoured to have Anthony Salcito the Vice President for Microsoft Education Global watching the presentation.
We were able to show the relevance of gamification and also the engagement from students through both video and demo. David Renton showed us all his games he made for the Kinect to help improve students math skills and I was able to show my applications to enable students to use the Kinect with the whiteboard and Global Telescope.
David also showed the audience to a live demonstration of his X-Games. It is an amazing tool which allows students to use Xbox controllers to ask questions to students in the lesson. I have used this with my secondary school students and they love using it in lessons. It makes them work well in teams as well.
We had some really positive feedback to the presentation and have had some good followers and contacts since.
BETT SHOW – HACKATHON / TOUCH DEVELOP
So, finishing presenting Me and David had some unfinished business around the BETT show. I had to find out some information for computer science implementation and I also wanted to find out about extra tools which would benefit class rooms at Uppingham Community College. I must say, I was slightly disappointed by the lack of information on computer science. But then me and David stumbled across the Stone Computers stand and the Hackathon they were doing.
Each day members of the public were invited along to build an application for education. It could be wacky or fun or anything which would benefit education. Me and David Renton decided to build applications. We had some ideas which were used on previous platforms and decided to adapt them for the touch-develop platform. David Made a game based on his Kinect game Maths Mage and I decided to make a Math game based on a spelling game I had created before. We spent most of the day talking to people about the touch develop platform and it was nice to introduce something to new programmers and new teachers to computer science.
The judges went away for deliberation and it was nice to have celebrity Johnny Ball there as one of the Judges. He was explaining the importance of applications being relevant to the subject and he thought that applications should aid the learning. He also said that applications need to be careful not to “gamify” everything. He said that some games can lose their relevance to the subject and then students end up concentrating on the game rather then the learning. I agree with him to some extent but at the same time students need to want to play the games.
The winners were announced and the winner was an amazing application by a group of lads. They had built an application to aid the memory. It had games which would test the order or completion and they would also test the memory of where things go or match. It was a good application. I was very surprised to be announced the runner up! My application was picked for 2nd place and I win a digital mini printer. I am very thankful to be a part of this experience.
The first person I would like to thank for my epic week would be my wife. She has been without me for most of the week and has had to put up with the constant texts of excitement from the BETT show. Thank you for all of your support!
I would like to thank David Renton who is a great guy! It was nice to finally spend some time with him for a change. We are constantly talking across miles! Scotland Vs England…. or Scotland Vs UK… inside joke there! Thanks for a great time and we had a great presentation bud!
I would also like to thank the principle at Uppingham Community College, Jan Turner. I have only started my role as a Lead Practitioner for ICT at Uppingham and she is so supportive to allow me to go to these events. Thank you.
Following on from this, I would like to thank Stuart Ball and Lee Stott whom were both a huge part to this week being such as success. They are a big inspiration and have encouraged me to try different things with the partners in learning network.