Searching in class

Wondering how the next school will allow pupils to search the web. BSE1 was totally directed, even though we knew most pupils had 3+ Devices. I hope my year 3 class will have more freedom to explore and allow the ideas I’ve  gained to develop.

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ICT computing

Twas pretty interesting… After BSE1, where PCs were rarely used, I was a little disheartened. Looking forward to applying some of the ideas in BSE2.

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Last ICT- scratch

Interesting class with plenty of potential. The basis of scratch is sound and a great interface for programming familiarity. I have no doubt that it is popular with pupils. I look forward to using it in the future.

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Not as pretty as Rosling. Live Blogging (Virtually) McCandless’ Visualised Beauty?

Right, let’s try this live blog stuff: can I find beauty in blogging like McCandless implies in data visualisation? Here we go…

Oh, wait now… two things, second thing first (as they say in Lenzie):  Luckily, he mentions Hans Rosling who has shown in many presentations the use of visualising data with true innovation (and on far more compelling subjects). Nevertheless, the premise is difficult to argue against: different representations make certain things come to light, in a more exciting and engaging fashion, but this doesn’t remove the issue of presenting and turning data into facts.

anyways, first thing second:

information overload (oh the irony of blogging ‘live’)? use our eyes more? Making info look cool!

Scaling figures and making a Billion box. Making a map of the info. there are many other techniques that use the same analogy.

Mountains out of Molehills… an outline of Columbine pre-empting a pattern of data surges. Bizarre phrasing of the self as a ‘data journalist’. The overall point so far is pretty sound. Different representations outline and uncover certain patterns and ‘facts’.

Making a distinction between programmer, writer and designer. We are all nascent designers due to being immersed in a visual world. This draws an old distinction of the west being a visual world. Go ask those with visual impairment. how true their visual throughput is. Which links nicely to the point he goes on to make. Lukcily, he’s now mentioning Hans Rolsing(sp?) who shows truly how to present and manipulate data for both sense and impact.

The issue that he so far shies from is that the cleaning and manipulating of the data has an impact on the data itself. Nevertheless, there is  a certain candour in the demonstration of political images.

Despite his best intentions, I am left with a certain lacking. A quick answer is not always the best answer, despite the rhetoric of the world’s first ‘carbon neutral volcano’. Yet, there is a certain beauty in the humour, and that has a life of its own.

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Watch “Roehampton PGCE 2013Three blind mice” on YouTube


Via the respective apps

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To play, or not to play? It is the safety

Electronic safety?

Asimov’s three laws? Ash? Tells you all you need to know, really. It is likely not the medium to fear, or to protect and be protected from, but the application of it by people ‘protecting’ their interests, status, beliefs and positions. If we are to protect children from the vicissitudes of the web we must expose the very nature of secrets, individuals’ and groups’ use of information to maintain their power, and societies’ reliance on the unelaborated, and use education and information as liberation and liberty. If there is a fullest possible use for a conscious entity, then perhaps we should consider how to remove inequality and privilege rather than yet again blame the problems of youths on the problem of youth.

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Black? White? Interactive?

A word of warning, I was unable to attend the class, so this will be from other experiences of using interactive whiteboards. They’re… kinda fun! And, if it seems fun then I like to have a bit of a play. My earliest experiences with Interactive WhiteBoards (IWBs) turned out to be damp squibs. The university I worked at had them in most of the teaching rooms. They were resplendent with signage, increasing both in size and forcefulness, indicating that under no circumstances should you use a marker (the non-interactive whiteboards already concerned themselves with the use of permanent markers, although that lesson was only partly learnt).

Unfortunately, but not unsurprisingly, these notices had been roundly ignored and/or blatantly defied and, at times, knowingly. Nevertheless, the crux of this is that the clutch of IWBs effectively existed as NonReciprocal White Boards… or, projector screens.

Yet, during this I began support work in an FE college, and there I found the wonderful world of IWB open up before me. Now I could draw a straight line and a circle, like real ones that satisfied their definitions. Moreover, the ability to link and animate,  to examine resources from different angles, to embed and interact with content without having to exit the presentation (I’m looking at you, Roehampton lecturers), was both amazing and great! Yup, I like ’em.

There are downsides, however. I’ve worked as cover supervisor around a number of secondary schools, often delivering non-existent content and ensuring that nothing gets broken and nobody gets hurt, where a web ripped IWB presentation has been left as my task to plough through. These are often very detailed and beyond the scope of the lesson plan; they can have far too many animations per page, making navigating a slow and laborious process by exposing answers at the wrong moment, or taking forever to move on as it lazily fades in; or, where repeating a single lagging touch unexpectedly takes you onto the next page, but returning means wading back through the previous 16 animations to show the final piece of working. All in all, it can be a soul destroying process, but one that is less the problem of an IWB than the uncritical use of another’s resources. There remains an issue around the use of another screen, another digital medium that is corrupting the moral fibre of our youth, unable as they are to differentiate between fiction and reality, but that’s another story…

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Going back to the beginning?

How did I learn about ICT in school?

In primary, that’ll be “not at all”… nada, nowt, nothing, zero. Then again, I went to secondary in 1983, and the idea of home computing was only just emerging with the advent of the ZX80 and 81, and then the ZX Spectrum (see also Commodore’s Vic 20, and then 64), all of which bringing us nicely up to, you guessed it, 1983. These machines did indeed change the face of computing/ICT for myself and a good portion of my friends. But, usually not in the ways respective parents felt they might… out went BASIC programming and in came vast swathes of games, quickly filling C90s. While record companies shouted “home taping is killing music” we stopped taping music and went straight into taping games.

Nevertheless, secondary brought us into contact with the BBC B and some more BASIC programming. Yet, the joys of infinitely looping your name and very slowly programming what was yet to become the mighty Snake became secondary to those guilty pleasures of pirating games and feeling like the Dandy Highwayman Adam Ant sang about the year or so before.

What does this tell you about my ICT learning at school? Well, pretty much all that happened… it didn’t. The hallowed hall of BBC-Bs was a small room with maybe six or eight machines. Classes of 30+ were let loose from time to time, but with a vexed teacher and a list of instructions that were sure to fail through rigid complexity and complex rigidity. All my/our other access to computers was far more interesting, compelling and exciting, but lacked any teaching. We learned, however, everything from fine motor skills to reproduction and forgery; early tape-to-tape recording to brief codes that broke or replaced security; and, unlikely as it may sound, a sense of morality that remains to this day.

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