Ready…Set…Go!

Another post about using Scratch.

Once again, we were afforded the wonderful instructions published by Simon Haughton on how to create a “Simple Racing Car Game”…without this – I’m not sure I would have been able to create a Car racing game, no matter how simple.

Firstly changing the background and creating my own sprite was fairly straight forward.  Creating the directions so you are able to steer the sprite (my racing car) was a little more involved, however doable, and before i knew it I was able to steer my car using my keyboard up, down, left and right arrows.

Next up, I added some words for when my car crossed the finish line.  I must say, when I did this part – the whole program made a little more sense to me.  I’m not sure why, it just did.  The program just needed me to tell it what to do.  Of course this is obvious, but when I could see how I could change it by ‘sense’ (the car sensed when it came across the red colour of the finish line to say “Well Done!”)  it just clicked in my head.

car race

Once I had programmed in further instructions (running into the grass – the specific green colour of the background to say “Bad Luck!” I was able to freely decorate as I pleased.  This I found fun, however I am no artist as you can see.

 

bad luck car

 

NOTE: That blue blob is a pond with a duck swimming in it – can you see it?  Kinda…?

 

What has really struck me with this program is if you do one thing wrong, it just won’t work.  No matter how much clicking you do!  You must make sure you have every single instruction done correctly, in the right sequence and ensure that it links, loops, stops or starts – otherwise you just end up with another version of a “Paint” program.  It does make me wonder how I would teach this to a class of students.  Explicit step-by-step instructions would be a must, as well as support on hand to help those who got ‘stuck’ like I did at times.  However, I can see the value of this program and know that some students would relish the opportunity to create using Scratch – and no doubt be better artists than I am.

Scratching the surface…

Well I’m back blogging again for one of my final two subjects of my degree – Technology.  My course doesn’t ‘officially’ start for another week, however I have been working away at some items up on study desk to try and get a head start for what is sure to be a crazy, busy, tiring, rewarding and fulfilling semester ahead of me!

The first week of designated digital learning activities introduced me to Scratch, a computer programming resource.  It is free to use and requires no download if you work solely online.

Getting started…

Thank goodness for the instructions provided to us on Study desk which have been put together.  I needed these!  I felt like I was learning a foreign language at first.  Following each step carefully and successfully moved my ‘sprite’ (which at this stage is a cat) in different directions to create a basic polygon.  From here, the Simon Haughton instructions led me to have a go at a virtual ‘Etch-A-Sketch’.  I could once again get my sprite to move.  However ‘simple’ things like changing the colour of the pen at first was difficult for me, madly clicking away it eventually changed colour. Yay!  Small wins is still a win.  I was also able to successfully change the width of the ‘pen’ being used.

See…

Cat_lines

 

I was however, unable to complete the final part of the activity – using auditory feedback that confirms the directional keys being used.   I tried playing about with different keys and then my sprite would disappear or my whole creation – frustration ensued and I just left it as it was…and still is.  Perhaps during more exploration I will figure this out – or when the course actually ‘officially’ opens up I can ask the question and a tech savvy student will come to the rescue!!

I’m off to have a go at creating a racing car game….

 

Here’s one I prepared earlier….

I have no idea if this is going to work but I thought I’d give it a shot!!  Nothing like learning on your feet (theme of my life this semester!!).

*Hopefully* you will be able to see below part of a lesson I created for my students when I did up a short powerpoint presentation to provide some explicit teaching regarding Craters in the Solar System.  Somewhat more interesting for the students than me dribbling on (and it saves my voice – which copped a hiding during prac).

Just click on the link below to have a look at my Powerpoint presentation – not exactly Einstein with my creation, but the students loved it (which is half the battle when working in the middle years).

PPT_Crater_Explicit_Teaching

crater

 

One of my fellow students shares in her blog here about how there is currently an astronaut tweeting and sharing his experiences from space and answering questions from students!  Amazing!!  I may have to give my mentor a bell and tell her about this and see if she can organise something for the students who are in the depths of exploring all matters of space this semester!

Okay, well I’m done for the night.  Busy day tomorrow again – starting with Mum duties (and I’ve missed those) dropping off my son to school.  🙂

Cheers for now, Katie

 

I’ve finished Prac!

Well I’ve now finished prac and am breathing at a slightly more steady pace again – although now I’m busily finishing off my third and last assignment for the course that required me to begin this blog in the first place, as well as another assignment linked to another core subject.  So still VERY busy, however I am now able to spend a little more time at home again with my kids (which suits me just fine).

There is so much that I learned on Prac.  And I’m not even sure where to start.  My assignment requires me to reflect back on my time and what I’ve learned, what I will take forward with me in my own teaching philosophies and what I would change.  The first thing that comes to mind is that the batch of Play-Doh I made, I would buy this next time and the students ended up with a gooey mess.  Lots of fun was had by all though and it’s great to be able to laugh alongside the students – even if it was slightly at my expense. 😉  The Play-Doh was part of my hands on aspect of exploring fractions and before the mess started, the students were on task and learning brilliantly – so perhaps I wouldn’t change a thing at all?

My mentor was absolutely fantastic and really did everything to put me at ease, welcome me into the classroom and the greater school environment.  A fellow student Janine Allman in her blog  Kinder Bytes asked the question in this blog post “if this Prac experience has altered or changed any of my other fellow students idea’s and future directions of teaching?”  I can genuinely say that the opportunities I was given to experience the diversity of life as a teacher has just further cemented my love (and admiration) for the profession that I am pursuing.  I have seen how it can be extremely stressful, tiring and upsetting as some of the negatives, and I can see how it can be totally fulfilling, lively and fun to make not only academic differences in young people’s lives, but socially as well.  I truly saw the human spirit come to life during this prac.  And whilst I cannot share the circumstances due to privacy, I will say what wonderful teachers and human beings I saw in action.   I can’t wait to get back into the classroom!!

Cheers, Katie

Another week done!

What a week!  So busy.  On top of the normal busy life of day to day schooling, this week on Thursday the whole school had sports day.  Such a great day – took me back to memories of sports day and how much I loved this aspect of schooling 🙂  Then today, (Friday) most of the class was at another school as representatives for soccer – we only had 5 students!  So, we had to ditch the plans of commencing a new English unit as it would be pretty much pointless as we would have to re-do this all over again on Monday.  Instead I had the class for the day (as well as the left over year 6’s and 7’s) in the computer lab in the library to catch up on assessment tasks.   This included researching information from various reliable sources, finding suitable images (copying, cropping, editing) as well as listening to audio of information given in interviews.  I guided the students all day to complete these set activities and teaching some of these students ‘simple’ applications such as opening a ‘new’ word document was a highlight for them!  Such diverse learning needs and ICT capabilities just in one class.

 

I will post again over the weekend and hope to share some of my learning activities I have completed within the class (if my links etc. all work!!)

Katie 🙂

One Week Done!

Well my first week of prac has just flown by……>>>>>>>>>>>>>there it goes!

In the midst of the busyness of normal day to day school life, there was 3 morning sessions of NAPLAN.  I supervised the Year 5’s with my mentor, whilst the year 4’s went off to another classroom.  I was thinking during this NAPLAN testing (during the few hours of complete silence!) that even though we are focusing so heavily on ICT integration in this course, how students are still expected to perform, and perform well using pencil and paper method.  There was no assistance given to these students and if they couldn’t read or interpret the question – well that was really too bad.  When I started to look around for other’s points of view, I stumbled across a fellow student who has also blogged about NAPLAN, check out Mrs Jones’ Blog here.  

 

I wonder if in the future educators will use ICTs in NAPLAN testing?

 

Now onto my actual teaching.  Even though time was short (students in and out constantly for music, RI, sports, instrumental music etc.) I did have a few sessions that I delivered, as well as helping out pretty much the entire time with all the other classroom duties.  I did a couple of Maths lessons (some hands on stuff, no ICTs here unfortunately) and also did a Science session.  Here the students watched some video clips, then researched on the internet from reliable sources (I pre-selected) to complete work sheets as part of their pre-set assessment.  Even though I haven’t been able to use ICTs in the way I had wished too, it’s still be fantastic.  The class is playing ‘catch up’ (I hear that happens a lot these days!) and so it is unfair to the students and my mentor if I have the students to activities that are not going to move them towards completing their assessment pieces; and these assessment pieces are very much already set in stone.  Regardless, my mentor is fantastic!! She is very much in the frame of mind of trying to ensure that I’m teaching as much as I can (and as much as I can handle) to give me more experience.  In fact, this coming Tuesday she is away and whilst there will be a teacher present, she has handed the day over to me!  So, I better finish off my planning now….

Bye for now,

Katie

 

 

Digital Citizenship

Digital Citizenship is about students/teachers – both children and adults, knowing when to use technology and how to use technology appropriately.  In this blog, Jeff Dunn likens being a good digital citizen to being a girl or boy scout online.  Funny, but relevant analogy.  I located Jeff’s blog, through fellow student Jennifer Walsh’s blog on the same topic.

Jeff provides a picture of girl guide complete with the following 5 points for teachers to guide their students to achieve:

1. Protect private information

2. Respect themselves online

3. Stay safe online

4. Balance the time

5. Stand up to Cyber Bullying

 

Whilst this was a quick and easy overview, I felt as though I needed something more.  So I explored further and when I read Teresa Morgan, another fellow student’s blog on Digital Citizenship she provided information on the 9 Themes of Digital Citizenship which was written by Mike Ribble, this information enabled me to get a better grasp on the term itself and the meaning behind the term.  It also made me reflect back to one of my earliest blogs, when I asked “How safe is your Facebook profile?”

Cheers,

Katie

 

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

As part of course we have been asked to carry out a deeper investigation on a particular topic – I have chosen the Universal Design for Learning (UDL).  UDL is a framework that guides the process in which teachers create flexible learning environments that accommodate individual learning differences.

The overarching notion is relatively ‘simple’.  Simple in theory and can be simple in practice providing you endeavour to design, construct and accommodate the spectrum of learners – ALL learners through the following 3 principles.

 

1. Provide Multiple Means of Representation – give your learners various ways of acquiring knowledge and understanding.

2. Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression – allow your learners multiple ways of showing what they know.

3. Provide Multiple Means of Engagement – engage and enthuse your learners through the means which challenges and motivates them.

I located the above meanings and understandings by exploring different online resources, including the National Centre on Universal Design for Learning and reading other blogs about the area Kathleen McClaskey’s take on using Mobile Apps with the UDL framework and the blog which I found most informative, which was Jackie Gerstein’s take on UDL which provided much information as well as informative diagrams and video clips.  A fellow student Scott Corry also provides an excellent blog about UDL giving practical information in a very accessible way; make sure you check it out!

 

Cheers,

Katie

 

Space

In keeping with the space theme – one of my fellow students Corinne Owen (who happens to be a mad space lover!) shared how she signed up to receive information on the International Space Stations (ISS) whereabouts.  Check out her blog here – you can tell she’s excited! 😉   She suggested to go on and check out the ISS tracker – so I did.

Look at this picture below showing real time travel –  I think my students would love exploring this!!

 

Perhaps we can track the space station over the duration of my practicum?  Hmmm…food for thought.  One thing I do know is that if I’m chasing some ideas or inspiration or I find something amazing… Corinne can expect a ‘ping’ from me!  🙂

Cheers, Katie

 

instaGrok – another fantastic ICT.

On advice from Jen Brown (she is becoming a great aspect of my PLN I must say!) I had a look at instaGrok – she said it would be suited for those in the middle years; which I will be in for my Prac.  Immediately it appealed to me and I started thinking about the areas I could use it.  I know that I’m going to be doing ‘space’ for my prac, however I’m not sure what area yet as my mentor is waiting until I start to see where the students are up too.  But she believes that I will probably be introducing this subject area to them as a brand new unit.  Yay!  So I’m thinking that I might be able to use instaGrok.

Essentially with Instagrok you:

1. Research a topic with an interactive map

2. Customise it with facts, links and videos

3. Share it amongst your peers and teacher to show what you have learned.

 

Click on the picture below to view a demo of instaGrok. 

 

A typed in the word “Space” and look at what it created!  It’s amazing.

 

 

Such a great find, thank you once again to Jen Brown for her blog!

Off to do some further exploring now….

Cheers,

Katie