Assembly app

Techgen has created a pretty good review of the Assembly app and the video goes through the key points of using it. I have been using it on my iPad and haven’t, as yet, encountered the problems he had on his phone. I can manage the shape choices across the bottom bar of my iPad Air quite well . What I can’t do is find out how to put in my own backgrounds as he did . There doesn’t seem to be an option for that. Maybe it comes with the subscription to Assembly Pro.

assembly app

Yesterday’s image

I am running the free version and have plenty to be working with and the shape packages are now all free. You can easily download them as you want them. I run it with the snap to grid functionality because it creates very precise placement and image manipulation. It is easy to change the colours and add text and to bring pictures forward or put hem to the back. It is an app which fits in well with the ACARA Digital Technologies curriculum requirements because students can learn how to manipulate objects, how to apply graphic design ideas , how to collaborate and how digital systems work to create meaning. It’s a great app for creating logos, simple designs and not so simple designs when you get good at it. There are tutorials on You Tube and the Assembly app site itself points you in the right direction. Currently it’s an iOS app. There is a review of it on stuff.tv . It saves the created images  in HD and the size is about 4000 pixels square , so a good size for manipulating further and reducing them will not disturb image integrity.

Learn coding

vivaLucci is straight to the point and explains clearly how to go about learning code. Code is problem solving. Get a good project and learn to code. Get a reason to code and learn to code. Start with one code and dedicate yourself to that learning and you’ll find a lot of the knowledge and approaches are transferable. I started coding because I was there when Commodore 64s came on to the market as the first home computers. They were clever but to get the best out of them you had to code. The manual came with some codes to learn and I built on that. The school I was in introduced BBC computers which could run some software but we had nothing for languages. I used my Commodore 64 language, borrowed books on BBC computers and learned to write scripts to run programmes to teach languages. I was coding the images, the sequence of events and then collaborating with interested students to develop those programmes further. That’s a point vivaLucci makes. Coding gets you collaborating and collaborating improves your coding. Students couldn’t write the scripts I was writing but they could add to them. We were a mini coding team and grew our knowledge by helping each other. We had a purpose. We were trying to make cool things for the class to use in the computer lab. I have grown from that point and add to it when I want to. Forbes has a good article as to why students should learn coding :

“It also has the potential to bring about a fundamental shift in the way we view technology, turning us from passive consumers into active producers. “There is a massive difference between consuming content and being able to create it,” Sutcliffe adds. “It is important to have agency over the tools you are using.””

Entrepreneur has some good sites to help anyone learn coding. There is so much free material to help you learn and you can go back to it and learn some more when you are ready. Lifehacker has some good recommendations for apps and sites for children to learn coding. For children to learn coding adults have to know what to safely recommend and have a degree of comfort with the software and apps and teachers need some good training which enables them to feel at ease with coding and see the purpose of it:

“But if coding is to become embedded in schools it is going to take a massive effort in terms of teacher-training. Kirsop attests to the shortage of time lack spent on programming skills on her own training course. “There is a long way to go before teachers feel confident enough to teach these skills,” she says.”

Teach kids how to code and you give them a skill for life

Why teach coding?

teach coding

 

This image was doing the rounds on the net earlier on the week and it was surprising how many teachers supported it. That said a lot. It means they do not feel comfortable with coding. Teaching code does not in any way mean that you ignore or replace other curriculum content, personal and social capabilities or wellbeing. As one of the people says in the video if you want to make money or you want to change the world then you need to learn coding. Coding is everywhere and in every part of our life. Healthcare is one of the biggest growth areas for IT development skills and programming skills. Coding is saving lives but we don’t currently have the source code to save the planet. Something to work on.

Kodables has a really good infographic as to why we should teach coding but it supports that with some very helpful downloadable materials to teach it. coding skillsEducational Technology and Mobile Learning

why learn coding

Why learn coding?

has looked at the skills students learn from coding . The video explains it all well, though, and teachers need to be able to find a level of comfort with teaching coding. That cartoon could not have been broadcast and shared on the internet without coding. Researchers collaborate across the planet to solve problems and develop ideas. All of that requires coding. Someone else in the video said that if someone had told her that software was about humanity she would have been able to approach coding in a better way earlier in her life.

coding joke

Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry

 

Whether you want to be doing and Inquiry or an Enquiry is up to you. I tend to think Inquiry is a formal research based investigation. The two spellings tend to be interchangeable these days. Most teachers would know about inquiry based learning and a lot of businesses and organisations would know about appreciative inquiry. Home schooling has favoured appreciative inquiry. The model is not just about effecting change in an organisation. It’s about creating a positive model to grow learning and knowledge and that in itself probably will stimulate change because you are working collaboratively to find solutions to problems and to build knowledge. Toby Elwin explains the principles really well in his blog post. Appreciative Inquiry  really isn’t just about changing organisations , though. It’s about changing knowledge and knowing. Where it reads corporate you could read your name, your family’s name, your class’s name:

AI seeks, fundamentally, to build a constructive union between a whole people and the massive entirety of what people talk about as past and present capacities: achievements, assets, unexplored potentials, innovations, strengths, elevated thoughts, opportunities, benchmarks, high point moments, lived values, traditions, strategic competencies, stories, expressions of wisdom, insights into the deeper corporate spirit or soul– and visions of valued and possible futures.

What is Appreciative Inquiry Commons

The image on this post comes from sidewaysthought and Chad Renando has a more personal look at the value  of appreciative inquiry :

I know which path I would take if I had to choose between two states of being: focusing on solving problems or reflecting on what is positive, aspiring towards a positive future, and identifying the most effective path to get there.

It’s about changing your frame of reference to a more positive approach. Looking at what is there and you already know. Finding out what you can from other sources. Working with others to look at the possibilities. Working out what is feasible and viable and then delivering on that.

From an education point of view Professor Louis Stoll published a detailed paper recently entitled Enhancing teaching and learning through enquiry-based collaborative R&D . It is available through your library or if you search Google you will find the link to the downloadable pdf file.  She discusses Inquiry from the point of view of leadership and pedagogy and in the end there are four areas of impact but you need to read the whole paper:

Appreciative Inquiry

Stoll, Louise & Centre for Strategic Education (Vic.) (issuing body.) 2015, Enhancing teaching and learning through enquiry-based collaborative R&D, East Melbourne, Victoria Centre for Strategic Education

 

The video explains it more from a business model perspective. Appreciative Inquiry is everywhere . It is how we need to be thinking about any approach to change, whether it’s organisational change, personal change or a change in knowledge brought about by learning. The Lutheran Education System has a lutheran-education-queensland-inquiry-based-learning broadsheet which gives an excellent overview of the inquiry based model and its links to the National Research Council and the Australian National Curriculum. If you make it an appreciative inquiry then the research is there to prove just what a powerful teaching and learning tool that is.

Lesson planning in the 21st century

Lesson PlanningDesigners follow a reason centred or action centred models to develop their content. We are in the technological age and technology is part of our classrooms and so looking at teaching through a designer’s lens provides insight and clarity. Technology in a classroom means tablets, smart phones, interactive white boards, laptops, computer screens. Screens, images, placement of content, visual literacy. Design. Planning lessons ought to be centred around design principles and, as it turns out, they serve us well. The image I have put into this post is by no means definitive. It is a way to demonstrate how we already use reason centred and action centred lesson planning and as you look at it you will think of other things. There is a bit of tension between the two in education because some would like to abandon or down grade the reason centred approach and focus more on the action centred approach. As a designer you wouldn’t do that until you were really experienced and had mastered the foundations of design through theory and research. As teachers we will often be champing at the bit to try different things and technology can increase that feeling  because there are just so many great things you can do with it in a classroom. So approach needs to be tempered. We need some commonality, consistency and coherence across the curriculum. ACARA has done much to try to ensure that and to ensure we have content based on good practice and evidence. We are in a data driven world and we are able to access a lot of information about learning which was previously rather sparse. We can use that to our advantage. We can also use the benchmarking of NAPLAN, exams and national tests to inform our decision making as teachers. By contrast we can also take real advantage of anytime, anywhere learning and students, as well as attending lessons at school,  can be participating in online learning, community based learning, project based learning, industry based learning – in other words – lifelong learning. Aitsl encourages us to create lessons based on reason:

1.1 Select from a flexible and effective repertoire of teaching strategies to suit the physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students.
1.2 Expand understanding of how students learn using research and workplace knowledge.
1.5 Evaluate learning and teaching programs, using student assessment data, that are differentiated for the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.
1.6 Work with colleagues to access specialist knowledge, and relevant policy and legislation, to develop teaching programs that support the participation and learning of students with disability
2.3 Design and implement learning and teaching programs using knowledge of curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements.
2.6 Model high-level teaching knowledge and skills and work with colleagues to use current ICT to improve their teaching practice and make content relevant and meaningful.
3.6 Conduct regular reviews of teaching and learning programs using multiple sources of evidence including: student assessment data, curriculum documents, teaching practices and feedback from parents/ carers, students and colleagues.
6.2 Plan for professional learning by accessing and critiquing relevant research, engage in high quality targeted opportunities to improve practice and offer quality placements for pre-service teachers where applicable.

The action-centred approach in aitsl comes largely through the encouragement to initiate ideas and collaborate with others.

6.3 Initiate and engage in professional discussions with colleagues in a range of forums to evaluate practice directed at improving professional knowledge and practice, and the educational outcomes of students.

6.4 Engage with colleagues to evaluate the effectiveness of teacher professional learning activities to address student learning needs.

7.4 Participate in professional and community networks and forums to broaden knowledge and improve practice.

aitsl asks us to inform our action centred approach through a reason based foundation so that we consult widely and adopt  professional insight into pedagogy.

Again it is coming back to the design and agile thinking principles:

Design thinking is : Understand, Explore, Prototype , Evaluate

Agile Thinking is about bearing the end user in mind, making incremental improvements and gaining feedback before you move on.

The reason centred approach and the action-centred approach are not in opposition in education. They operate together to stimulate growth and that positive mindset we keep talking about.

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