Touch Develop–Visit To Willows High

On the 12th Of July I was lucky enough to be invited to willshighposterWillows High in wales. I was invited to the school for an innovative teaching and technology work shop they had arranged.

Willows high were hosting an event with the sole purpose of sharing good practice through the use of innovative technology. There were many guest speakers with different technologies to show such as the great Gareth Ritter, Stuart Ball and Alessio Bernardelli. Each of these guys are innovative in their own right and it was amazing to see so many teachers from wales coming together and finding out about new technologies to use.

Gareth Ritter showed some of his amazing work he has been doing with Makey Makey. Have you ever wanted to build a musical keyboard out of bananas? Well now you can! He had some amazing tools which allowed students to use gloves to make sounds and he had even hooked up instruments to a PowerPoint presentation so that it would move to slides depending on the instrument which was touched. Amazing stuff, you can find out more about this by visiting Gareths blog here.

Stuart Ball explaining how you need to make use of what you have before necessarily buying all the latest gadgets. He explained how Willows High have only just started buying equipment but have been successful because they have used the technology in the right way. It is all about purpose. He showed some innovative ways of using PowerPoint and how you can type straight into your show. Things which many teachers didn’t even realise were possible. He talked about ways that you can interact with your PowerPoint by using simple things such as an Xbox controller. All of these small things are engaging for students and make things that much more interesting for them.

Alessio had some great use of polling systems in the class room which allowed students to receive instant feedback on their work.

During my session, I explained to teachers how they can make use of technology such as the Kinect in the classroom. I had some really good ideas from these teachers for future applications so that they can engage with students. Here are a few suggestions which were made:

  • R.E – Having different worship places with hidden items to drag and drop into place.
  • Math – Having students have to do a lasso gesture to capture numbers.
  • ICT – Having student drag and drop pieces of hardware into place such as a jig saw.

All of these tools would make some lesson particularly more engaging and I’m looking at working on some of these ideas in the holidays.

Touch Develop

microsoft-touch-develop-appThe next part of my session involved me showing how Touch Develop can be used for getting students to build applications for learning. I have had suggest with 11 year olds at my school. They have been learning how to make Mobile Phone applications in their ICT lessons ahead of the computer science announcements and they have come up with some really innovative use of applications. I have had students who have made the start of a scary maze game. One student has finished an application in P.E which shows students different muscles parts on the body. We’re working with other departments around the school in order to make the lessons have some sort of purpose.

Touch Develop with Year 7 (Age 11)

Here is video from my students below. You can find out more about this scheme of work by following the links at the top of the page, or by clicking here. The video tutorials are in the process of being updated for the new version of touch develop but Lesson 1,2 and 3 have been updated and you can find them by going here.

Thank You

I Really enjoyed my time at Willows High and would like to thank Joy and Gareth for inviting me. It was awesome to finally be inside the infamous classroom I had always seen on YouTube but had never been to! I had a really warm welcome and I look forward to collaborating in the future.

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About Raymond David James Chambers

I am the Lead teacher of computing at Brooke Weston Academy in Corby Northamptonshire. Previously I was the head of IT/Computing at Uppingham Community College. In 2015 I won the Gold National Teaching award for Innovative use of technology. I also won the 2015 Young Game Bafta - Mentor award. I'm keen to help students achieve their best and like to give them opportunities to do this. I have a passion for teaching and I enjoy meeting other people and sharing their ideas. I have a keen interest in games development as well as developing the use of ICT in classrooms across the curriculum. In my spare time I teach Irish dancing. I have been Irish dancing since I was 11. My highest position was 14th at the world championships 3 years running and 2nd at the Great Britain Championships in 2006.
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