With the Micro : Bit being announced in March I thought it might be useful to do some basic training on using TouchDevelop. BBC announced that one of the programming languages used with the device would be TouchDevelop. I thought that giving teachers a taster on how to use the bug might address some of the concerns that people are having with the way it will be used.
On Tuesday the 16th of June, I decided to host a training session after school at Uppingham Community College. I started off by showing people how to access the environment and addressed some of the login issues. Many people weren’t sure how to allow all of their students access to it. If you have G-Mail accounts or Live accounts you can log in. BUT if your students are under the age of 13, you can’t get them to sign up to some of these accounts. The best way for me to address this with my students is to create a single account and issue the username and password to the students. I.E – UppinghamCC@outlook.com, I would then give the students the password to log in. I would change the password from time to time so that they wouldn’t use the account for email.
All of the teachers managed to have a play with TouchDevelop and they logged in to the environment and managed to have a play with the Turtle. We discussed loops and some of the programming logic which you can explain to the students. I also directed some of the teachers to the resources shown here on the blog.
Great to see that the session has been useful to others and if any other teachers have questions about how you can embed it into your curriculum, then please let me know.
Teach Meet: – Following the TouchDevelop training
Following on from the event we hosted a TeachMeet so that teachers from all around Rutland could come and share some of their expertise in Computing. The idea would allow primary and secondary teachers to come together and help each other out. Some highlights of the event came from the following people:
Mike McSharry – 7 Ages of Scratch
Mike had a great presentation which took us through the different versions of scratch which would allow students to code. He presented a number of different versions of scratch. One of the favourite versions he mentioned was Scratch Junior. It was great and would work really well with EAL students. It doesn’t include textual instructions and it is very accessible for students. It is available on iPad and Android Devices (Via Google Play). You can check out more from here: Scratch Junior
Simon Johnson – TouchDevelop Golf
Simon Johnson has been using TouchDevelop with many of his students. Although he couldn’t make the session he managed to send in a link on the use of TouchDevelop in order to show students how they can learn about the efficiency of code. We all know that code can end up being really long. Simon talks about challenging the students to shorten their code to see who can get the shortest code. You can see the presentation for yourself in the attachment.
Martine Mannion from Wellingborough school had a great presentation which would show teachers how they can use other techniques when teaching programming. She talked a lot about barefoot computing and mentioned cs4fun. Cs4fun includes some awesome resources which help students discover computational thinking without the need for computers. There are magic card tricks and activities which really get you thinking. Some questions of discussion which help you understand how to explain some of the terminology used. I have attached a link to barefoot computing below so that you can find out more information.
I would like to thank all of our guest speakers tonight and we look forward to hosting another computing teach meet in the future! Thank you for your time and please email me if you have any questions. See some pictures below: