Back to the coding

first scriptI haven’t  seriously coded in a long time. Time to get back to it and I have chosen to work with Python. It will work across all the devices and computers I have no matter what OS they run. Even though I have a body of transferable knowledge, I have to treat myself as a beginner because if I have learnt  one thing from coding , I have  learned it is one tiny step at a time. Coding is very disciplined, precise thinking and you have to be absolutely accurate. The challenge comes in using your problem solving skills to work out how you are going to get something to work. Okay, so I want to learn Python, where am I actually going to put the script and how am I actually going to run it? I have got the C Language app for my iPad. That runs Python. I have to pay 3.70 to get it to run unlimited scripts. It might be worth it because it has such a nice interface and there are some resources there I know I’ll be able to use eventually. I already have Text Wrangler on my MacBook. I’ll need to download Python and then work with the information I find to use it on that if I want to. Linux will easily have what I want so I am leaving that until last. I took the biggest challenge first – Windows 7. I found an excellent site : Learn Python the Hard Way It suits my needs and covers all the operating systems. The instructions for Windows worked out but I had to update PowerShell to version 3 because I am on Windows 7. Nothing worked until I did that. first python scriptI have written and run my first script in the PowerShell and so I can work through the rest of the site bit by bit. It is not really learning Python the hard way but Zed. A. Shaw is very clear about how you have to behave if you want to code. It’s not guessing, hmphing, skipping over bits, trying to race ahead. It is disciplined and exact. He could not have put out a better message . I have also signed up for a free Udemy course – Coding for Entrepreneurs Basic by Justin Mitchel. I am not an entrepreneur and have no aspirations in that direction . I want to learn what the course has on offer and then I can decide how I will put that to work. Justin Mitchel explains everything well and the course is set out very clearly. It is supposed to take 4 hours. I downloaded the course app to my iPad too! So, before I even got to learn anything in Python I had to set up my devices and find the software I needed and ensure I had the right versions. For me it is good to have a multimedia approach like the Udemy course and then my website where I can go to learn the next bit. Ready to code!

Start Up Term 3

Start Up Term 3 So, what does your to-do list look like for the beginning of Term? We have started semester two but are about to go back for Term 3. I know, it sounds a bit messy. We might need to streamline our school year a bit so that the breaks are more logical and fit with what needed to change. I have 10 things on my list which I am pretty sure I can organise in a straight forward way but there will be other things I’ll find out about when I get back to school. To be able to do this electronically makes it so much more straight forward and so much less time consuming. Some of the things are about converting what I have to suit my needs this year. Some of the things are verifying I have the key documents in place to consult or share. Some of it is creating new materials and learning tasks. It’s a good mix of quick and easy and then those things which will require thought and time. I have used One Note because I’ll put the file in DropBox and then pick it up on my iPad with the One Note app. I also have my to-do list backed up on my blog now!!

MathMagic for Captivate

I just discovered MathMagic for Captivate on my MacBook. Why? I am a French teacher. I have found a video so that someone who actually knows what they are talking about can explain this to you. I have no need for an equation editor but you may well need one. The images you create in Captivate are extremely clear and so would replicate well on an interactive board or in a video lesson. Captivate is an Adobe product which obviously the school has kindly loaded on my MacBook. The least I can do is share this with you because it seems to be the very thing if you like creating equations. From my non Maths point of view , it is actually interesting to me to see all the maths symbols so well organised and aggregated. My way of tackling it would be to find out what each of those symbols meant and what I could do with them. Probably not a lot. Have fun. You’re welcome.

Love my mobile personal assistants

devices You just never know. That message was brought home to me again about 10 minutes ago. I was supposed to go to a website to give feedback. The website was a non event. Not a single link went to said feedback portal. Luckily, there was a QR code to the feedback site. I got my phone and bingo! I was on the right page, I could give the feedback and my job was done. Using my phone obviously wasn’t my first option but I have learned you need to have access to more than one device and electronic instructions need more than one way to get you there. We are living in a multiple option world!! Often, when you are seriously engaging with the online world you do need more than one device. My year 8s last year, some of whom are my year 9s this year, were really good at using their phones and iPads together to create a really efficient study platform for themselves. My year 10s, too , sometimes ask if they can borrow an iPad and when I ask why, it is so they can do one thing on their iPad and another thing on their MacBook. They are really organised, efficient , digital workers. I find when I participate in things like Twitter chats I need to have my computer and my phone. My phone whistles all the incoming notifications which I then know to check on the TweetDeck feed. It means I can be answering questions, retweeting, responding to answers and replies without having to do extra. My phone becomes my personal assistant. At work, I can run my emails on my iPad and do other things on my MacBook. When you use more than one device, the mobile device becomes a very powerful personal assistant which can keep you fully informed but also allow you to access other things while you are doing your main work on a computer.It means the cognitive flow is not interrupted and the thinking processes are smoothed over for you when you are working intensely. Right now my phone will let me know if anything comes up on Twitter because my email is open on my second desktop screen. We have the devices and hardware, we need to put them to work. They are not just ornaments.

Colour your teaching

If the only thing you do is watch this video, you have done well. It speaks for itself and is beautiful. When my daughter was at art school, one of the first assignments they had, was to build an installation which focussed on one colour. Hers happened to be green. As part of her audience experience she wanted to make a green cake. She went outside and got some fuchsia leaves and asked me if I could make green chocolate leaves to go on her cake like the ones she had chosen. I washed the leaves , dried them and painted them with green chocolate. When her cake was made we peeled off the real leaves and had the chocolate ones for her to decorate the cake. She then took a photo of it on some little camera around at the time which printed up a small photo of the cake she had baked. It was not only a good mother and daughter moment, it was a good teaching a learning moment. I learned that if you focussed on one thing and explored it from all angles it was a deeply satisfying and inspirational way to learn. From then on I applied that in my classroom. With technology you can focus on one thing from all sorts of angles. You can teach content in multimodal ways and bring about a deeper understanding and a much better sense of what the learning is about. Looking at teaching through an artist’s lens means you have the opportunity to truly engage someone’s mind and creativity by immersing them through studied focus which then builds on itself.

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