Friday, 7 October 2016

Changing nature of Digital Technologies?

I am thinking about what these would look like in my current context and future visioning of what this subject could look like in 5-10 years time. I am not looking at the ideas of programming or computer science, as this seems to be what everyone talks about. I am looking at other areas in this post today.
I tend to ignore social networks, this is due to historical reasons around bebo, myspace. Looking at what is happening with the ideas of instagram and facebook, snapchat. It is a way to share ones life, developing campaigns around social good could the focus instead, allows for the integration of digital media, the development of good digital citizenship ideas and programmes as well.
Ability to evaluate the role of social media and how it impacts on society. Do they understand the role of social media and how it related to society.

What does a good digital campaign look like through different digital media.
Getting more focus on the development of own images/animations/design to support better outcomes for students.

How can we look at the technology that is in the pocket of students to allow them to make better videos. Develop better images. I look outside at present and see students with gimballs attached to gopros to make skateboarding videos to support their learning. Why are we not looking at how integrating of learning areas can be better used to support student outcomes. These are great ideas at lower curriculum levels and I see a huge range of success for teachers and students that can tell their story. 

One of the integration that happened naturally in my school was electronics and art. Getting students to develop ideas of native birds or pests and developing electronics to help make it move. I plan on developing this in a later post.

To me we still haven't looked at the ideas of the changing nature of databases, while we look at how to develop and construct, we are not looking at how to deal with the concepts of big data, and why this will be an issue with Internet of Things. Databases are also changing in their nature with web environments, having to be more flexible and fluid. Think of twitter and its scalability issue with the Retweets of the ellen image that broke it. While students may not create databases that big they should still be aware of some of the limits of the technology. With the changing nature of database system moving away from servers to more service base. One thing that I forget to include when I initially wrote this was the application of API, getting students to be able to bring in information from an outside data source. Consider the fact of mashups and being able to use information from the likes of opens source data to being new ideas together. I look at the information coming together that nzherald are using.

Cloud development and ideas need to be considered with the ideas as we move away from information stored on our own systems. "Considering the feedback from tertiary is that they cannot do sharing of work, like google drive and onedrive and therefore want it removed from the unit standards".
Also taking this into consideration with the office productivity tools, consider what is in the current standards and how it still includes ideas with certain office productivity tools and how this could limit the online environment as well as open source.

As has been pointed out on the subject association group, what about new technologies, how will they be considered within this, Many of the ideas that we are working on have to be under the Conceptual or prototype generics as we cannot do any around the skills standards.

Splitting aspects of digital media? This is a huge issue with what has been though the group.
One of the biggest issues that have developed in the last couple of years and keeps coming up is the one around game development, I believe that could really develop something that is not just around the product, but the thinking and learning that goes into it.
Should desktop publishing come under the digital media, or is it already being covered better in art/design.
Also have a better focus on User Experience design.

We also have modelling that needs to be considered, 3D modelling of environments (which could possibly go under the Design and Visual Communication standards) but also the development of 3D printing, these are something that cross many technology areas, should they be developed for just one area.

Could their be standards to support the engineering of robotics to develop autonomous systems?

Even stating that CSS should be used in a web development assessment is starting to become an issue. Why do we not include statements about design/responsive instead of stating technologies.

What will be the impact of Virtual Reality, Augmented systems as they have more tools to support the development of ideas within the classroom. How does an idea of a virtual tour look when people can actually do a 360 walk and movement using VR or Google Cardboard or when google glass comes back, you know it will.

How will wearable computing be developed, built on, we have a world of e-textiles and teachers wanting to develop great ideas through creative technologies. The ability to make clothes change colour, play sounds and interact with the world around them.

As stated earlier in the year, the development of better infrastructure standards and a pathway to support the learning of these. Many students are building there own computers younger now.

We need to think differently, if we are looking at the potential of what students come through school learning, why should office productively tools be assessed? Should it state that students should learn 3 different programming languages before year 10? If students are going to digitally literate.

Why are we just considering standards that could be round skills and knowledge, why not the soft skills that tertiary and employers are after.

As has been stated, digital technologies could be considered more of a collaborative(while doing something else) environment, agree that we should standards that support this, but not only this, but research/inquiry for students to actually do a proper piece that could be published in a students educational ,
New media literacy.
Managing yourself in a digital world? Where there is constant demand, is there a health crossover
Virtual collaboration, can they work with others, not just in own school, but with outside partners.
21st century fluencies/future of work needs to considered.

Considering the list here...
  • Algorithms
  • Programming
  • Data Representation
  • Digital Devices and Infrastructure
  • Electronics
  • Digital Applications (USING stuff, like office software, digital cameras, etc. etc.)
  • Digital Media (Film, audio, graphic design, print media, wysiwyg web stuff)
  • Web Design and Development (writing HTML/CSS, building websites, and then web apps using databases, JS etc. etc.)
  • Humans and Computers (HCI, UX, computers and society, digital citizenship, computers and problem solving etc.)
While some of these have been put in as extra, when the original documents came out in 2009 I think, the missing components was humans and computers.

While many of the areas that have been talked about are at secondary school, there is still a lot of thought that needs to go in to what are we looking at what is coming through. How can a curriculum be written to support 13 years of schooling, While teh fundamental of the digital technologies space may not change, it is however how they will be presented to students that will change.

I hope you get through all of this, as there are some big issues and ideas in here. While there are not solutions offered.

Monday, 3 October 2016

digital media, standards

One thing I have been doing lately is starting to look at what is next for the digital media area. While it is not new and has been around for  number of years is the web open formats for media and images.

A number of years ago I watched a website that when you scrolled the image moved. This was part of a tourism New Zealand campaign. I have always wondered how to recreate this type of background and image without scaffold and expensive equipment.

Drones are the answer, with the quality cameras now available and simplicity being able to view what you are filming at the time. This allows the for the ideas to become real.

Here is the case study that started me down this track (took me three days to find it)

I managed to find a great site that uses this format,, it has a video background that uses the .webm format. One thing that is talked about is that you do have to serve up both formats, a .webm format as well as a .mp4 format. That is due to some browsers not being able to use the format.

The webm format and project website

Also the webp format

So starting off with the idea of where I want to go. Scenario: We have a fantastic area near our school, a lot of history and an ever changing environment. Can we promote this?
I know, a jpg file
A screen shot of the website that uses this format for the background
To start to see what I have put together as an example

I used some footage from one of our local parks to demonstrate the idea.

So, looking at the knowledge based standards, not just the skills based standards, what can we do with the students to really get them to show knowledge?

So why, I am looking at ideas to support the learning objectives around understanding of advanced concepts of digital media

I have to look at the ideas of Standards and conventions refer to the technical specifications, guidelines and terminology appropriate to a media type.

So why look at the difference and ideas of jpg, png and webp, as well as .webm and .mp4. Considering the potential uses of these in a students work, as well as what they are developing web wise, it should be part of the course.

Also good for students to be able to discuss the positive and negative implications of adhering to digital media standards and conventions when developing digital media outcomes.

It should be noted that, these are my views and thinking. JPEG vs PNG vs GIF should be sufficient for this standard.
It should be to generalise the idea of standards. What they are, why they work/don’t work, and how it sucks to be a front end dev

Friday, 9 September 2016

Tic tac toe

This week, I carried on the idea of last week, getting students to develop an idea of how computers are designed to win games. Going through all options that the computer has to play, learning from losses.

I must say I am impressed at the activities, they have enabled students to be engaged and push there preconceptions. 

As someone commented on the photos that I made available online, They love the fact that I am using tic tac toe, for me it is about using their prior learning and developing new knowledge from it.

Getting students to develop their own pieces and gameboard through cardboard allowed them to personalise their games. I did think about developing it through the laser cutter, but this turned out to be very creative, one of our Hobsonville Habits.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

cs4fn sweet machine

One of the ideas that I am working on at the moment is to develop what I do as a teacher. I am a learner as well and I want my students to see that. I chose to develop a TURING SPIN as part of this term theme around Citizenship with a look at the Technology Curriculum of Characteristics of Technology.

We have been developing chatbots to do specific ideas, one to continue to carry on a conversation with a human, to order pizzas. This has been interesting as we use for students to develop in.

However, I felt something was missing, and I came across this last night. The Sweet Computer.
How can a computer learn from experience?
The class challenge a machine made of sweets to the game of Hexapawn (a little like a game of chess with only pawns and on a 3x3 board). At the start the machine only knows the basic rules of the game. The more it plays the better it gets: when it loses the class punish it by eating its sweets allowing it to learn from its mistakes.

Using the game Hexapawn, students use machine learning to develop a machine that will always win. 1.5Kg of Jelly beans later the students have developed a machine that always wins. The thinking, thoughts, challenges that I saw today, the "will this work" statements, the "I want to try this", "I want to test this idea" were statements that showed engagement in the learning. The frustration as one student would beat the machine, however the machine was learning so when the next student tried the same combination, they lost. Watching students as the explained the rules of the game I saw students communicating clearly, through words as well as actions.

Note: the colours in the pdf seem to be incorrect
• 5 red sweets • 11 yellow sweets • 13 purple sweets • 12 brown sweets • 13 blue sweets
could be
• 5 red sweets • 11 yellow sweets • 13 purple sweets • 12 orange sweets • 13 blue sweets

Also problem solving with the students as we worked through the instructions, while text is a great form for communication, pictures would have helped show layout of the cards. Also using better colours in the task of the beans, I have still to figure out why brown jellybeans exist, as I have yet to see that as a colour in the packet.

I must say that this was an enjoyable lesson for many of the students and others around as Jelly Beans were handed to the winners, as well as losers.

There is also another one around tic tac toe

What is a programming about?
How can computers win at games?
Explore programming without worrying about programming languages and investigate how a computer is able to win at board games like chess, by writing instructions to play perfectly at noughts and crosses followed by a tournament to find the best.
Maybe an extension could be to 3d print the objects required to play? or lasercut pieces and a board...

Friday, 26 August 2016

Communities of Online Learning

"The Education (Update) Amendment Bill (the Bill) proposes to recognise the impact that technology is having on education, by introducing a new mode of education delivery – online learning. Technological change makes it possible for students to learn anywhere, anytime, and at any pace.
The Bill proposes to enable new partnerships between schools and online learning providers, and enable children and young people to access their education through online delivery. Online learning providers will come from the schooling, tertiary education, and private sectors, and will be able to seek accreditation as a Community of Online Learning (COOL).
The Bill proposes that COOL will have to meet criteria relating to their capability and capacity to deliver education to students in an online environment. Some COOL will be subject to additional terms and conditions, like which students they can enrol. All COOL will be subject to a robust quality assurance regime, including requirements to meet specified student outcomes."

Digital Technologies teachers have used online communities to assist with the development of learning for years. Mostly around web development and programming. Many through the list have talked about the positive aspects of students engagement and learning, conversations then lead to the development of teachers dashboards so teachers could monitor and assist students progress.

Looking at this, and the conversation through our own Community of Online Learning, NZACDITT. Doesn't this enhance what is already happening in our school through the use of Online Communities. Online Community being learning platforms like Codeavengers ( where the learning is prepared by teachers, delivered by teachers and who have also been developing assessments that can be carried out. If there has been a problem students have been able to email and seek help and guidance about a concept that they do not grasp.

Through the page talk about
  • Students learn the 'what' and 'why' with carefully sequenced lessons and gradual progression of difficulty. 
  • Our code challenges, quizzes, points, badges and bonus games make learning fun for all ages. 
  • Students build their own apps, games and websites as they learn. Seamlessly integrates into your school curriculum with any subject. 
  • You can easily identify students that need support thanks to live updates of each student's progress. 
  • With our lessons plans, supplementary notes, and assessment resources streamline your preparations; 
Codecademy ( has also developed the same, though not directly being part of the NZ landscape. There is curriculum that they follow, projects and learning through to a student developing a portfolio of evidence.

Also look at the evidence being provided by khan academy, being posted today in the subject association forum, about there new computer science course available online. We've partnered with Dartmouth college professors Tom Cormen and Devin Balkcom to teach introductory computer science algorithms, including searching, sorting, recursion, and graph theory. Learn with a combination of articles, visualizations, quizzes, and coding challenges.

It is interesting that when we start to unpack the comments over the years that these are being pushed as ways to assist with the development of the digital technologies curriculum at NZC Level 6-8.

We have many communities of online learning(not exactly called that back in 2005) in New Zealand, due to our geographic nature, Many of these have morphed and changed, but I still see opportunities, many of these were needed with the earthquakes happened in 2011 in Christchurch for students to be able to carry on learning while there schools were closed.

Currently there are 4 Offers on the Learning exchange to help support digital technologies throughout New Zealand.

We have a Virtual Learning Network in New Zealand,

One of these was created in 2005, called the Loop,
The driving force behind this extraordinary regional initiative is the collective belief that: The richer the information that is available digitally, and the more extensive the networks that connect people, the greater the benefits that will accrue.

I believe we have to wait to see what comes out of the Ministry and its development before making judgements. The more I see and hear what the ministry is working on links back to the Education 2025 strategy

Thursday, 18 August 2016

When things get tough

Why is it when things get tough you want to go home and be with family. While I love my job, the school and the students, other things are going wrong.

Two weeks ago I managed to have a rather good crash off my mountain bike a fall onto the hard track. By all accounts of the people I was with, I hit the ground hard. While on the ground I was thinking between winded breaths, oh no, not the shoulder, whats broken, and are the students ok. What is going to happen next, am I that injured, that I am going to have to stop. Turns out that when you stand up the world go rather bright, no broken bones, or nasty cuts, but a couple of ribs are not in a good state at present. Cracked is six weeks of rather interesting faces when laughing, coughing, or just a really deep breath.

Its also some of the other stuff, IEM's take a good amount of time to develop, comments for IEM, as well as progress reports. Just a large amount on an already large amount. School is good with this, great scaffolding for students as well as teachers. New semester, we are now in week 4. However this week we have also had added fun with 2 power outages, 8:10am on Wednesday saw the power out for 1 hour and fifty minutes, then today at 3:10pm the power goes out for another 1 hour and 20 minutes. Great being in the last 20 minutes of the school day.

I look forward to tomorrow, extended learning hub to work through with my year 11 students what their evidence for their IEM looks like, Year 9 was checked on Wednesday afternoon, it is great as their hub coach to go through and see how they have grown as a learner, what personal and academic excellence looks like for them.

Wednesday and Thursday next week are when the IEM are happening, half an hour with learners, whanau, I just hope my ribs and body can cope.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Moving digital technologies curriculum

In July 2009 the "body of knowledge" around technology was made available.

This document outlined the skills and knowledge that learners should develop and understand. The first time digital technologies was included in such a document. These help develop the knowledge and understanding that formed the achievement standards and indicators of progression. I often look at this document, surprisingly I have printed it off and put it in my nzc2007 book that is in my bag. I feared that it would be removed from the tiki website.
How many of the ideas in the digital technologies sections have been included in classes?

These ideas were nothing new in 2009, however they were new to teachers who were changing programs away from technology achievement standards that were not functional with the programmes of delivery at the time, mostly were based around Information management and aspects of digital media.

With the current strands of digital information and the aspect of teachers skills and time, it is not possible to teach all the strands in the qualification years. Is it surprising that there are programmes that are outside of schools.

The changing nature of education means that students have opportunities to gather learning from outside sources. Are we meeting the needs of our students? Think how many teachers are now tutoring students in ncea topics? This has been going on for years even before NCEA, is digital technologies now a part of the the possible failure of the education sector?

How are schools adaptive to change? Are outside organisations able to change their programmes more to cater for their learners? How could schools learn from these organisations?

We are about to go through a rapid and quick change that has already been signaled that education and industry will be involved with.

We need to be looking at new ideas, new models of teaching and learning, the ideas of assessments and what they are and how they are assessed, are we looking at the individual or looking at the ideas of industry around collaboration and team work. If digital technologies is to be taught in an integrated curriculum, who are we going to look at, develop inspiration from? Could this form part of the ERO visit in school (ERO will be sitting at the table in the forthcoming meetings)?

Challenging digital technologies through innovation and creativity should be top. Not just things on the side. We need to be moving away from assessments that look at mastery of a skill, looking at the ideas of integrating software and technologies needs to be forefront.

Looking at the education strategy for 2025 how are schools and learners best developing programmes of learning to cater for all students, not just the 33% that go to university and then the 39% that drop out after the first year. How are could we be developing the ideas of the future learner, one that has the potential to go through 8 possible careers through their lifetime.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Open evening

Developing an open evening evening straight after the big project showtime is something that we have never done before. How best to show the Makerspace and Technology Learning Area.

To show examples of learning of our students both in spins and modules.

I decided to do something different with the Digital Technologies concept. Putting out some of the technologies that we use as part of the classes. The questions were around probing both students and parents for answers. Which I must say was a particularly interesting aspect to watch over the evening, as students dragged parents back to the table so they could explain their answers. 

Having opportunities for these type of community events brings in a range of community. Perspective families, students, even our own students with grandparents. It provides the community with an opportunity to see what is happening inside the walls (we don't have a fence that goes around the entire school).

As for next years open evening? Here is hoping it brings out even more creativity and innovation.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Will the NZ digital technologies curriculum see success?

It seems to me thinking about the ideas of the new Digital technologies curriculum that there needs to be three areas that we need to have support from.
1. the teachers
2. Supportive school management
3. A supportive IT person

While the teacher is pretty obvious, and we have identified in the past what pressures will need to be developed and supported, I think we have the other two areas to work on.

School management, while many of us have supportive school management that have let us develop programmes and courses and pretty much stayed out the way. They have let the teacher run the program. Of course it is better to have support from senior leadership and I think about how lucky I am in my school for the principal to visit my classes when I am teaching with visitors from outside the school. When was the last time a member of senior management visited the class that was not for appraisal reasons, just out of a sense of interest in what is going on within the school?

But I feel the third one is going to be the biggest and hardest to get support around, I still find out that there are schools who are still blocking the right click on the mouse. It is also in the small school where the IT support person is also the teacher. This can work out fairly well but in a reality it could be putting strain on the teacher. It seems that IT issues take a lot of time away from teaching for the teachers. How is your school going to be thinking about he extra time that you will be required to teach if you do not have year 9 and 10 programs or even more junior? A lot may depend on how you yourself see the role?

The other part maybe the issues of having a person or outside organisation looking after the network. Many people have talked about the issues of fixing accounts that take weeks, printer issues that never seem to be fixed, or that damn wifi for students that never seems to work. Asking for software that for an education point of view is needed (python) yet the tech may not want to install as it is not a stable version and installs python version 2 not python 3. 

How will the ideas that are developed as part of the resources that are developed by the people tasked to create the resources going to be used within school, if particular software, services and technologies are developed for. I think of the number of people who still are not allowed a development web server on their internal network due to the "security risk".

Ultimately, teachers, school leadership and IT people have to work together for a single mission - providing the best digital technologies curriculum possible for the students, for this to really live up to its potential.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

on a downer

Having a discussion with some of the staff yesterday, they felt sick, and down. Something that I was feeling. It took a bit of talking and thinking about what was happening and agreement, it was sense of loss. Not having that block 2 planning meeting with the co-teacher felt rather strange yesterday.

The loss of working with your co-teacher. It seems to be something that some of us who have done more than one year felt. You have developed an understanding of how you work in class, develop your students, planning and reflection.

Even though we have done some planning and talked about what the concept and context is for the semester, you still haven't been in the same room as them with the students. How will your teaching styles align, the ideas that you come up with develop over the nine weeks.

Having gone through the first blocks yesterday, it is no longer a sense of the unknown, it is now something that I look forward to and developing over the next semester, getting to know what the drama area holds and how we can develop students appreciation of technology and drama through the context of digital citizenship.

One of the best things yesterday was the use of a song at the start of the drama piece from Chatroom, 

Considering I used the same song last year for a computer science concept SPIN. I look forward to looking at the characteristics of technology in this module and how we are using technology and what the social, physical and environmental impact are.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Prototyping on Paper - digital technologies - foundation years

One thing that I have normally struggled with in the Technology process has been the idea of conceptual development and prototyping.

As part of module, we co-teach. For this I was teamed up with a PE teacher. Our secondary students had to plan and teach a module down at the primary school, develop skills within a sport. So out of the three blocks for the week, one was around planning for the time with the primary students. Teaching the primary students, seeking feedback from the students in their learning space, then going to the portal (library space) to do reflection. Using the third block to do the technology design and modelling using the ideas that they had been doing on monday. 

Developing our Learning Objective of To Test design idea through prototyping or modelling. 
Normally I have done this through programming or developing a series of images through the computer. However, students normally update the files and you lose the great work on how they stepped up or made changes. 

The Rubric that we used, level 4 -6

One of the pieces of software that I used to help develop an app idea was POP, prototyping on paper. 

The app allows you to draw you ideas, take a photo of it and then allow the user to create clickable spots to be able to show workflow. 
Students could take photos using there device and then do the clickable areas on their computer. 

Students then take what they have created and test it with a bunch of users. In this case it was students from our primary school. Feedback was sought and then incorporated into the development.

The following are examples of some of the ideas that students came up with

Getting a student doing paper prototypes had them talking, collaborating, seeking feedback for an hour and a half, they want to continue developing prototypes, developing the functional reasoning behind their design, as well at the practical reasoning. Using

What this helped them do was move towards Level 5 and 6 of the curriculum.

Digital Technologies Announcement and Industry

On Tuesday at the NZTech conference, an announcement in what we have been waiting over 7 months was made. Through the Curious Minds review of the positioning of Digital Technologies in the New Zealand curriculum, it was announced that Digital Technologies would be a part of the Technology Learning Area.

This has not played well for industry who have made numerous comments and press releases since the announcement calling for a rethink. The call has been made for Digital technologies to be a seperate learning area.

As a teacher I have thought about this for a long time, since starting teaching 14 years ago with the positioning of where the area was and have thought about it over the time. The move from computing unit standards in 2011 to achievement standards has helped develop the nature of the subject. The more important focus for me is the ideas and future of the industry.

Some things that have made an impact for me and I would like to see more of, education can only move so far and so fast...

Industry can support the development of the community, culture and development of the subject within the communities. Everyone is trying to be the next technological area outside of the states. I often read about the IT Business parks that are being created in cities and in towns. These are the future workplaces of our students.

I often hear about the academic requirements of a subject, yet, the constant call is for the soft skills, the communication, working in teams, thinking, collaboration. Many of the academic subjects work in isolation from each other. Where we want to grow the soft skills.

Developing a scholarship for ours students that is outside NZQA Scholarship would help. While there are the awards for outstanding scholarship and top scholar that provide an incentive, I would love to see the data on how many technology students get one or more scholarships?

Single Subject Awards
  • For Candidates who achieve Scholarship in one or two subjects in the same year.
  • A ‘one-off’ award of $500 per subject (maximum payment $1000).
It is the single subject scholarships that I would like to see industry help to develop. Looking at building a panel to award 20 scholarships a year, an opportunity to work in a company for the summer break. These will provide valuable experiences to our learners. We need different types of incentives. Yes, there should be through government, but I realise that this would take time.

How about the companies that complain and take out full size ads in the New Zealand media... while I agree that they want to see change, could be putting this towards developing opportunites and spreading the word. 

It is dangerous to develop a curriculum that is developed for one particular group. When I look at what exists already through companies are:

One great opportunity that existed was the Orion Health codeworx competition. This helped get technology out to schools and to develop ideas on how a raspberry pi could be used. This also helped get students into the company, what a opportunity. This competition was ended in 2015.
Brightsparks provides opportunities to develop projects that around the concepts of Science, Environment, Software and Engineering.
Microsoft have the Imagine cup which looks at students across all disciplines to team up and use their creativity, passion and knowledge of technology to create applications, games and integrate solutions that can change the way we live, work and play.

The scholarship would need to consider aspects of what exists already and what is wanted from our future developers and industry leaders.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Topics of computer science for junior students using pokemon go as a context.

As some of you will ever aware, Pokemon go was released on Wednesday night and some students will have been walking the school grounds hoping to catch a couple of Pokemon during the school day.

I pose some starter questions here in so that they could be used to develop some deeper understanding for students.

Video of what pokemon go is all about -

Great to think of the topics of computer vision through augmented reality. Though I have been challenged on this, I would like to change what could be looked at, why is that computer vision could not be used to help support the development of this game.

You’ll frequently find Pokémon floating superimposed into walls or other objects in a way that doesn’t make sense, with their scale totally misrepresented against a backdrop that doesn’t suit their size at all. When you walk toward the Pokémon they’ll simply slide along the ground at a fixed distance from you, passing through whatever real world obstacles might be in their way. Students could take about the ideas of this, imagine a pokemon that could hide behind a tree?

As well as developing a traveling salesman problem with visiting pokestops ( as well as having to visit gyms once they are level 5 to battle. This supports the ideas of tractability, getting students to figure out the best route to visit the most pokestops to be able to get the backpacker medal. (

Also the discussion of types of phones, the Pokemon go app will not work on an android phone if it has an Intel processor.

Managing data through 3G/4G. How much data does the app go through in a session. Depending on how long your session is.

The common question for some students maybe, why will it install on a smart phone but I cannot play it on my computer? It's a game?

Also talking to students about why released in Australia and New Zealand first before releasing to the American market a day or two later?

This also gets them to understand why they will get the most annoying screen at the moment, "we are experiencing issues with our servers"

Getting students to share their wins through photos, why is it important to share the capture of a wild Pokemon while sitting in your bathroom? Digital citizenship topic maybe?

Monday, 4 July 2016

Computational Thinking - csta

Computational thinking (CT) is a problem-solving process that includes (but is not limited to) the following characteristics:
• Formulating problems in a way that enables us to use a computer and other tools to help solve them.
• Logically organizing and analyzing data
• Representing data through abstractions such as models and simulations
• Automating solutions through algorithmic thinking (a series of ordered steps)
• Identifying, analyzing, and implementing possible solutions with the goal of achieving the most efficient and effective combination of steps and resources
• Generalizing and transferring this problem solving process to a wide variety of problems

These skills are supported and enhanced by a number of dispositions or attitudes that are essential dimensions of CT. These dispositions or attitudes include:
• Confidence in dealing with complexity
• Persistence in working with difficult problems
• Tolerance for ambiguity
• The ability to deal with open ended problems
• The ability to communicate and work with others to achieve a common goal or solution

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

What may a high school course look like for artifical intelligence

One of the areas that I am looking at for Characteristics of Technology is that of Artificial Intelligence. The course is aimed at the New Zealand High School students which are Year 9 and Year 10. The object is to introduce them to a concept through the ideas of Computer Science, to look at Environment and Social contexts.

Searching and exploring,
When we look at the concepts that I have above, I need to find some ideas of what others have done, or as least explore to see what else is out there.

The CSUnplugged site has information on the Turing test, a good place to start,

This activity explores just how we might recognize whether a system is truly “intelligent”. It involves reasoning about what it means to be intelligent, and even what makes us human

However, does it provide enough information for a student to gather and interpret ideas and make decisions about how effective it is?

Students could explore a contemporary technology-related controversial context (for example, genetic engineering, stem cell research, climate change, alternative energy sources, environmentally-friendly building design, and so on) and identify issues that have arisen from this context. As part of this, they could interview a range of people to establish their views and explore in depth the influences on and impacts of people's perceptions and attitudes on related technological developments. Current codes of practice related to the wider context (both national and international), could be identified and their development and purpose explained and analysed in terms of how they may influence future developments both positively and negatively.

Students achieving at level 3 could be expected to:
  • describe the physical nature of a Technological Outcome they are developing and describe how it could function and why it would be suitable for particular users
  • explain how changes to the physical nature of their outcome could enhance its fitness for purpose.

Students achieving at level 4 could be expected to:
  • describe the proper function of the selected technological outcome
  • explain how the technological outcome might be able to be used by end-users for purposes other than what it was originally designed for
  • discuss the likely impact of using technological outcomes in alternative ways.

Students achieving at level 5 could be expected to:
  • explain how explorations of their own outcome in various contexts allowed them to gain a deeper understanding of how they could modify their design to reduce user misuse and/or inappropriate environmental location
  • explain the concept of malfunction, and use the selected Technological Outcome to illustrate the difference between malfunction and failure due to wear and tear
  • explain why the Technological Outcome malfunctioned and identify changes in its design should you be developing the outcome today.
Next stage is the more advanced csfieldguide
This has a great deal of information on it that provides more details, opening up to chatbots, and whether chatbots meet the ideas of artificial intelligence.

There is a NCEA Level 3 Achievement Standard that allows for the information to be assessed, this could allow for a basis of understanding for the questioning as well as step ups for the rubric.

Selected Area: Intelligent Systems (Artificial Intelligence)

Key Problem: Determining whether or not a computer program is able to have a conversation with a human and seem like another human.

Algorithms/ Techniques: Turing Test

Practical Application: Using the Turing Test to evaluate if a chatbot is able to have a human-like conversation.

In summary, to satisfy the standard you might do the following:Describe the key problem
Explain how the Turing Test can be used to evaluate a chatbot
Explain (Describe) how you evaluated a chatbot with the Turing Test, in order to demonstrate the use of the Turing Test in Artificial Intelligence.
Discuss other related applications of the Turing Test
Evaluate how effective the Turing Test is at addressing the key problem

Look at overseas now...

Recent advances in computer hardware have been accompanied by similar improvements in software, resulting in affordable fifth-generation languages (5GLs). Availability is not the same thing as accessibility, however, and artificial intelligence, which is a key component to 5GL software, remains a curiosity. At most, one can learn about it as an elective class at the university level, usually taught by a graduate teaching assistant. This is unusual, given the role it plays in society today.

While teaching Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the high-school level, the author has developed a four-part curriculum that is offered as a model for implementation into a high school's computer curriculum. A broad overview of this curriculum follows.

* Overview of AI Curriculum

Students begin by examining a variety of topics, such as the definition of intelligence and the components of learning. They explore different ways of representing information as well as current uses of AI in business and industry. Vocabulary is introduced at this time. The focus of the second part of the curriculum is upon expert systems, a specialized type of software in which the computer attempts to duplicate the function of an expert in a specific field. The computer makes recommendations based upon the rules (knowledge base) created by a programmer. Students are introduced to PDC Prolog, one of two common programming languages used in AI, in the third segment. Use of a robotics manufacturing system that incorporates machine vision in the identification and manipulation of parts occurs in the fourth and final part of the curriculum.

The remainder of this article is devoted to a brief definition of AI, examples of current applications, a justification for including AI in a high school's computer curriculum and the curriculum proposal itself.

* Defining Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is "the branch of computer science devoted to the study of how computers can be used to simulate or duplicate functions of the human brain... [making] it appear as though a computer is thinking, reasoning, making decisions, storing or retrieving knowledge, solving problems, and learning."

Artificial Intelligence differs from other programming languages in at least three ways. First, it does not use algorithms--step-by-step procedures--to solve problems. Instead, it uses symbolic representation--letters, words or numbers--to represent objects (in the form of statements and procedures), processes and their relationships.

The second major area of difference is how uncertainty is handled. Using the sentence "Erin is taller than Esther" as an example, how does one define tall? Are you tall at five feet five inches? What about short? Are you short at four feet eleven inches or at five feet? Artificial Intelligence is able to deal with such imprecision through the use of confidence factors and probability.

The final distinction lies within the realm of decision-making. Conventional software uses precise data and step-by-step instructions for solving a problem, thereby limiting the computer to predetermined solutions. Whereas in AI, the computer is given information (sometimes imprecise) and the ability to make inferences. The computer and the software determine the solution.

* Real-World Uses of AI

Artificial Intelligence is important not only because the Japanese are using it as their language of choice for their fifth-generation computers, but because it is already impacting our daily lives. Cameras incorporate "fuzzy logic" circuits to control automatic focusing. (Fuzzy logic is a means of dealing with imprecise information, such as short and tall, by assigning a value between 0 and 1.) Subway trains use it to control acceleration and deceleration.

Expert systems are utilized by businesses for such things as locating oil and mineral deposits, managing stocks, or troubleshooting and maintenance. …

My thoughts, When developing this I have been thinking about what is the purpose of AI, and getting students to develop chatbots that have a purpose and function. Just the thinking involved in that would be nice for a 9 week block, only 80 minutes a week.

Some of the ideas are now in a POND bucket, see here

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Semester Two Ideas

This week is the week of module planning for semester two. Working through combinations of what could be taught together. Something I am looking forward to.

Technology has the focus on two areas of interest for me, it is also something that I have explored in depth.

In the foundation module, this is our theme and context.

Questions to think about:
How might the Partnership enhance the understanding of citizenship, systems?

To EXPLORE by researching the impact and influence of design. (link with characteristic of technology)
To MAKE SENSE by analysing existing practice to find meaning. (design history) (creation of material)
To MAKE SENSE by understanding systems, process and components.
Focus: Characteristics of Technology (minefield)
  • Design History
  • Physical, Environment, Social, Cultural
Focus: Technological Systems
  • Process
  • Transformation
  • Control

I love the idea of what is citizenship and have an idea which is around Digital Citizenship, Being able to look at what other ideas exist out there through netsafe and the THINK ideas. But it is also something that we need to continue to look at within our school. Get some student voice and develop ideas on where to think about the next steps forward. We had Lynfield college talk to us last year and show some of the examples of their work.  It is also something that I had students at my previous school develop some ideas around through the web rangers initiative.

I link to the video that Jamie Curry developed to support this initiative.

I think this could work in with Drama or English really well.

Now, term 4... Technological systems, this is one that is potentially one of excitement, and one that could benefit from me pairing up with drama. Doing the csunplugged and developing resource and ideas for primary school children through the activities. Being able to look at the cs unplugged show that has been running through the University of Canterbury.

Being able to develop new clips with secondary age children to explain the concepts through a performance could offer a new challenge for students to develop their drama skills. I look forward to what is put out for us tomorrow.

My other alternative for an english co-taught module would be one around text based games. I meet a home schooled students last year who was developing her own text based adventure game through a
system called playfix, which uses a natural programming language called Inform.
Playfic is a platform for writing and playing interactive fiction.Interactive fiction (aka "text adventures") is a genre of game that uses no graphics or sound, but instead, uses text to tell a story in an interactive world. 
Playfic is a way to write interactive fiction and publish it entirely on the web. Playfic uses a "natural language" programming language called Inform 7 that's easy to pick up and difficult to master. You're able to make your first simple game within minutes. 
The best part? Playfic runs from your browser, so there's no need to download any programs to use it. You can write a game and publish, instantly creating a clean URL that you can send to your friends. What are you waiting for? Go explore!

Now the thinking for SPINS.

Student voice has been around Programming, as well as some students would like to learn how to put a computer together, thanks to one of my old schools I have a number of old computers available for students to pull apart and put back together. I am wondering of the computer together could go into term 4. That leaves a gap for me next term to think about. Part of the citizenship would like me to think about something different and to really unpack the idea of physical, social and cultural.

Qualification SPIN will be around programming, but I am also considering digital information to help develop the database ideas and concepts that may be of help later on.

What to teach in the programming module, knowing that there will be newbies as well as experienced programmers, I have been thinking about the concepts that I wish to teach which will be able to be carried out through scratch and python.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

The habit of reflection

While my students are looking at the habit of reflection, I have been reflecting on where I am at the moment, sort of taking a stocktake of how things are going.

While things are going well with modules, SPINS, projects. The new floortime for this term is going really well. It is different from my normal ideas. It is based around the Department of Conservation Battle for our birds. 

I have been using a metaphor lately, trying to keep everything in the box. Taking on some new challenges this year has made me take note a bit more of what I am doing. Learning Design Leader and timetabler. Both of these are providing me some great challenges. 

One thing that I feel is falling outside the box and upsetting me is Learning Hub. This is something that is higher up this year as it is also one of my goals. As you can see in my previous blog posts I have been putting some new activities and ideas into what I am doing in hub. Planning is a big one now, as it is a sizeable amount of time. The great thing has been the development of a hub curriculum which is designed to allow the dispositions(habits) to be explored and inquired about. Then why has it escaped the box. There has been a number of other activities, ideas and exploration happen that has happened. I feel like the planning and work involved in the development of the hub that has been a goal has been taken out of my hands. Something which I am struggling to share.

While also looking at reflection I have been thinking about other things, what is happening in my life at the moment. I have started being a bit more adventurous, I have started getting my food bag. It is taking me out of my comfortzone of the food that I normally eat. Yes, I needed to change what I ate, too many times not being organised of what to get at the supermarket. Maybe that needed to be taken out of my hands for a while. I am looking at my food bag for three weeks and relooking at what it has allowed. A Rose, Bud, Thorn exercise.
I also am looking at what I doing as extra-curricular. I have restarted taking photo at sports games this season, something which supports our students and our vision.

I am helping take a fantastic group of students through the Hillary Challenge training at present. Every Monday and Friday at 7am they are there, excited and ready for the challenges that they are put through. My favourite has to be keypunch and street number bingo.

I am also enjoying the mountain biking winter series again. It allows for so many of the habits to be shown, I enjoyed the comments from the students as they finished this week about the mud, throwing a bike at the marshalls (sorry, didn't see you behind the tree) and the initial, I hate this, i am not doing it again, through to I can't wait for next time.

P.S I think my students did enjoy eating a raisin, listen to it here. In learning hub.

Reflective: I look back to look forward.
Self Aware
A Critical Thinker
  • I am always thinking about my thinking.
  • I am conscious of the steps and strategies I use when problem solving.
  • I am able to reflect and evaluate the usefulness of my thinking.  
  • I plan a strategy before embarking on problem solving.
  • I am aware of my  actions and the effect of those actions on others and the environment.
  • I am able to pose internal questions as I searches for information and meaning.
  • I am aware of the need for correction if my plan is not working.
  • I am able to reflect on the plan for the purpose of self-evaluation, and editing for improved performance.
I have ended the week with this,

I realise that we haven't really had the chance to really inquire about what the Habit of Reflective is, I thought I would help end the week with looking at an aspect.

Find some music, even if it is

I would suggest finishing a quiet spot and listening to something for 10-15 minutes, relax. 

Then fill out these 10 questions, you cannot put don't know or anything that is not a coherent answer. 
Some of these questions relate to conversations that have happened in Hub this week.

What did you have for dinner of Wednesday Night, did you leave your most favourite part of it last?

Choose a module that you had this week, what was something new that you learnt?

Choose a SPIN from yesterday, was there an aspect of it that you did not enjoy, why?

What was your favourite TV Show or Netflix, Neon, Lightbox, youtube show, about this week?

If you could listen to a song over and over, what would that song be, why?

Consider Wednesday afternoon with the heavy rain and thunder that happened after school, how did this make you feel?

If you could any change an aspect of HPSS, what would it be?

Can you identify one teacher that supports you best? What is it about them that brings out the best from you?

What was a strategy that you used to solve a problem recently?

How do you feel about thinking about thinking?