Category Archives: Uncategorized

Demonstrating Core Competencies in the CWT program

As part of the Curriculum with Technology (CWT) Grade Six iPad program, students have been using iPads to create artifacts and self-assessments to illustrate Core Competencies.

Creating artifacts using technology allows students to represent their learning in multi-representational formats, which is a cornerstone of universal design for learning (UDL).  As well, It is important for students to be creators of digital artifacts and not simply consumers of digital information.

Students have been busy creating iMovie films and trailers, Google Slide shows, e-Books, Pages presentations, picture collages, mind maps, coded stories, 3D designs, claymation, totem poles, science fair presentations, fraction quilts, reflections on myBlueprint, tables and graphs, and animations. There are so many creative ways students can use technology to demonstrate understanding including using technology to reflect on their learning growth.

 

 

 

Coding Talkers – First Nations Culture & Computational Thinking

Students in Mr. Haddrell’s class at Charlie Lake Elementary School enjoyed participating in a lesson that connected our Canadian Aboriginal Code talkers history to computer language applications.

Students learned more about the role these Canadian Aboriginal code talker soldiers played in the war effort by creating coded messages in Cree. After hearing code talker stories, the students then deciphered a message written in Cree-like symbols to English.

Diane Barclay, Cultural Aboriginal Student Support Worker, and Laurie Petrucci, technology support teacher, teamed together to develop a lesson that would integrate First Nations culture and coding. Therefore, following their Cree deciphering activity, students connected code talking to creating words using binary code. To do this, they played binary code charades and made bead bracelets spelling out their first and last initial in binary.

 

If teachers are interested in having Diane Barclay and Laurie Petrucci visit their classroom to give this lesson, please contact Diane (dbarclay@prn.bc.ca) or Laurie (lpetrucci@prn.bc.ca).

 

 

 

The Integration of Arts into Coding

Students around the district have been highlighting their artistic skills when learning to code a story in the iPad coding app, Scratch Jr.  They are also gaining competency in  computational thinking skills and discovering more about the importance of procedural language.

The Scratch Jr. app has ready-made background templates and characters that the students can choose from to include in their story. Once students choose their characters and setting, they use coding blocks to build their interactive story. Characters can move forward and backwards, turn, jump, grow in size, shrink, disappear, and reappear. Students can also include voice recordings and dialogue using specific coding blocks.

In addition, Scratch Junior includes a paint editor to enable students to edit their characters to better personalize their stories. For example, a blue fish can be turned into a yellow fish. Students can also use the camera tool to personalize a character, such as including their own face on a character. 

Where the creativity really comes into play is when students use the drawing tool to create their own settings and characters. These drawn characters can also be coded to perform actions similar to the characters that are provided by Scratch Junior.

Here are some examples of students using the editing tools and coding blocks to stretch their stories into highly artistic representations of integrating the arts into coding.

One student used the editing tools to enhance the farm template and dragon character. She then used the coding blocks to create action in her story.

 

 

The photos here show how the same student used the editing tools to create her own background to use in her story. She also personalized her characters as well.

 

The student below created a story involving two dogs and a cat. As a French Immersion student, his story also included dialogue and text in French. He coded the story so that when you touch the screen the story begins. The artistic element of the story is that the student coded the one character to shrink in size creating a scene that included perspective.

 

 

 

 

NexGen Codetalkers

During World War II, First Nations soldiers from Canada who spoke Cree were recruited as top secret “code talkers”. Because soldiers from other countries did not know of the Cree language, they were unable to recognize and decipher the “coded” messages written or spoken in Cree. The code talkers were able to create “unbreakable” coded messages.

Creating code is also important in technology and the field of computer science. It is the language we use to “speak” to computers. Students who learn coding skills develop stronger computational thinking skills, a competency that is included in BC’s new curriculum. Students also develop skills in problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and communication as well.

Last year, approximately 85% of our students in the district participated in Hour of Code activities from December to February. Let’s try to do the same, or better, this year. Students can participate in one hour activities that are either online or “unplugged”. There are many “unplugged” ideas available on the Hour of Code, such as making binary code bracelets. As well as the one hour “coding” tutorials, teachers can also access support tutorials and find extension lessons for students if they would like to go beyond the hour.

There are also some excellent coding programs available for students to use outside of the Hour of Code activities. Scratch is a web-based program that can be accessed on the computer and is an excellent tool to support both Math and Art competencies. There are also many apps available on the iPad such as  Scratch Jr., Sphero Edu, and Swift Playgrounds. There are also great lesson ideas available in iBooks such as Everyone Can Code, Learn to Code 1 & 2, and Get Started with Code 1.

By engaging in activities such as coding, let’s help develop students into the next generation of code talkers AND code breakers.

Coding links:

 

ADST Lesson Ideas

To support teachers with the new Applied Design, Skills & Technology (ADST) curriculum, we have created a Google Site that features lesson samples and resource links. Please contact Laurie Petrucci (lpetrucci@prn.bc.ca) or Glen Longley (glongley@prn.bc.ca) if you have lesson samples to share.

ADST Lesson Ideas https://sites.google.com/prn.bc.ca/adst-lesson-ideas/home 

“A turning point came for me in the early 1960s, when computers changed the fabric of my own work. What struck me most forcibly was that certain problems that had been abstract and hard to grasp became concrete and transparent, and certain projects that had seemed interesting but too complex to undertake became manageable” (Seymour Papert, 1993, p. 14).

The evolvement of technology has always supported concrete, hands-on learning  from the invention of paper, pencils, and ballpoint pens to sewing machines, desktop computers, laser printers, and robotics. BC’s new curriculum area of ADST centres around the acquisition of skills and concepts from the four disciplines of Business Education, Home Economics, Information Technology, and Technology Education. The big ideas and curricular competencies focus on the “doing” aspect of the curriculum.  Students problem solve and create through the concrete manipulation of various media such as wood, metal, food, art, textiles, robotics, and information technologies.

ADST learning standards incorporate designing and making, the acquisition of skills, and the application of technologies. The process of building a concrete product can be quite complex requiring several steps, such as learning know-how along the way, acquiring necessary tools, materials and expertise, as well as reflecting throughout. It is important to determine what works and what does not, what adjustments and adaptations need to be made along the way, and whether or not there is application for using such a product. In other words, the process is as important as the product.

Hands-on learning is further enhanced when students collaborate with each other. When students engage in participatory activities and construct learning artifacts collaboratively, instead of only consuming content, they are actively learning.  Along with developing curricular competencies in ADST, students gain skills in the core competencies of creative and critical thinking, communication, and the personal and social competencies.

Students better engage in learning when it is authentic and connected to real-world application.  Stevens stresses that “the next generation will need to be highly adept (even more so than the current generation) in critical thinking, holistic thinking, practical reasoning, creativity and imagination.” (Stevens, 2012, p123). Our students will face new challenges in the workplace as emerging technologies continue to expand. Our students need to learn how to problem solve in applied areas within collaborative contexts to be successful.

References

Papert, S. (1993). The children’s machine: rethinking school in the age of the computer. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Stevens, R. (2012). Identifying 21st century capabilities, International Journal of Learning and Change, 6(3-4), 123-137.

 

 

New eBooks

We’ve ordered some new eBooks for Destiny Discover (aka Follett Shelf) that will be in the catalogue in the next few days – See the ebooks section at http://www.prn.bc.ca/?page_id=225 for more info on how grade 5-12 students can access our ebook catalogue.

The Breadwinner – single license (only one checkout at a time)

Catching Spring – unlimited license (infinite checkouts at a time)

Freckle Juice – single license

The Giver – single license

Holes – single license

Maniac Magee – single license

The Tale of Despereaux – single license

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing – single license

Underground to Canada – single license

K-5 Digital Literacy Scope and Sequence

Students need to develop skills in digital literacy from Kindergarten to Grade 12 to become more fluent in the areas of internet safety, digital self-image, digital citizenship, copyright laws, media management and information curation, as well as ethical considerations such as cyberbullying. Technology fosters the ability for children to tackle complex tasks, access learning resources and supports, personalize learning, and represent their learning in multiple-literacies. Therefore, it is important for our students to learn how to use technology in a safe and respectful manner to ensure they are learning in a safe environment.

The updated K5DLSS site can be found at http://www.prn.bc.ca/ss/k5DL/ and is organized by:

  1. Foundational Operations – basic skills and concepts around computer technology, programs, services
  2. Processes for Productivity – skills with genres of software or affordances of computer technology
  3. Communicating & Inquiry – specific examples of activities that can be integrated into the curriculum.
  4. Safety & Citizenship – While teachers will grow their own skills in technology over time, we feel it is critically important that lessons on digital safety and citizenship be incorporated into practice right away.

The K-5 Digital Literacy Scope and Sequence (K5DLSS) learning standards supports much of the pre-existing and new curriculum. Learning resources are available on the K5DLSS site to support our primary and intermediate teachers in the integration of technology into their curriculum, and the lessons also connect to the Core Competencies of Thinking, Communicating, and Personal & Social. In addition, the K5DL Scope and Sequence support the curricular areas of Careers, Applied Design Skills and Technology, Physical and Health Education, Language Arts, and PBIS (anti-bullying) within the school and classroom.

While technology skills should be explicitly taught to our students to increase digital literacy, technology plays a more ubiquitous role in fostering Universal Designs for Learning (UDL). Technology allows students to demonstrate understanding in multiple ways and allows many to participate and access curriculum where they would not normally be able to do so.

Lessons & Resources

Through the support of contributors we will continue to create learning resource tools that include videos, lesson plans, posters, how-to documents, large group, and small group instruction. The site is a living document, so please feel free to share your resources with Jarrod, Laurie, or Glen to be posted on the site, remembering that any resources shared will fall under a Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial – Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.