Jun 5 2018
Apr 14 2018
This is the overview for the 2 day course “Micro:bit in secondary computing CY224” (apply inc Enthuse bursary via the STEM site, essentially making it free apart from cover) that I will be leading with Pete Dring and Simon Johnson. We believe that your existing Microbits (worth upwards to £2k in each school) have huge potential to enhance your KS3 curriculum either for free or for very little extra cost. I really rated Alan O’Donohoe and Mark Clarkson’s Python Boot camp and I intend to include similar ideas for teaching methods and ideas that you can take straight back and use in your classroom with your students. This is the rubric with additional pictures and comments to explain what we are planning:
“Transform your KS3 computing curriculum to make programming interesting and exciting for all students, smoothing the transition from blocks to text-based languages.
During the first day you will use Python to programme the micro:bit, from the basics through to making music, transmitting morse code using radio and, finally, a Bit:Bot robot challenge.
- Understand how to support all learners using both blocks and Python for KS3 schemes of learning
- Take-away many ideas for using the BBC Micro:bit for programming, including physical computing
- Have experienced effective methods for teaching programming and managing kit in the classroom
- Feel empowered to develop your KS3 curriculum, using the BBC Micro:bit to encourage greater uptake for KS4 computer science”
Day 1 – Developing your KS3 curriculum using BBC Micro:bits
This will include what everyone is already doing or not doing with their BBC Micro:bits and a brief history of the Micro:bit.
Ideas for easily managing class sets of micro:bits and equipment:
An introduction to images using PXT Blocks suitable for year 7s. Then images using Python 3-ways – the microbit website, Mu, and Pete Dring’s simulator with discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of each.
1.3 Intermediate Python activities
Starting with ring tones, delegates will learn to programme pop tunes. Then participants will learn to send morse code via the radio link.
1.4 Circus of Python activities
Including Bop-it and speech synthesis.
1.5 Next steps in your own curriculum
eg. different pathways using both blocks or Python:
1.6 Programming Bit:Bot Robots with PXT blocks
A chance to program a Bit:Bot Robot using PXT blocks to move, flash lights and beep, ending with a line-following challenge.
Day 2 – Physical Computing using BBC Micro:bits
2.1 Programming Bit:Bot Robots with Python
Same activities as yesterday evening but with Python.
2.2 Discussion of Curriculum
Further discussion of curriculum opportunities, teaching methods, and supporting mastery.
eg. Using a hybrid programming environment such as TOSH (https://tosh.tjvr.org/app) to bridge between Scratch and Python:
2.3 Introduction to Physical Computing
Using block based code and basic inputs, participants will explore how to bring computational thinking and coding ‘to life’ through physical computing with the micro:bit. Delegates will use what they have learned to create some simple games such as a ‘Love Meter’ and ‘Magic 8-ball’.
2.4 More complicated blocks
2.5 Robotics on a Budget
Create simple robots using servos and everyday materials such as cardboard, paper clips and drinking straws, with discussion around how to extend these ideas in school.
2.6 Circus of Physical Computing activities
During this session, delegates will build a moving head puppet with a servo and then to try out a variety of sensors (PIR motion sensors, light sensors, temp sensors etc.) and explore how these can be used in the classroom. Delegates can also use this time to modify/upgrade their cardboard robots using the sensors provided.
Jan 26 2018
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to BETT18 yesterday, which greatly exceeding my expectations, as I have found in the last few years that the increased focus on selling hardware increasingly meaningless in the transfer to Computer Science. Of course, the biggest enjoyment was meeting up with colleagues who I work with regularly, but the other standouts this year for me were the exciting additions for using the Micro:Bit and that high quality VR (and AR) that is becoming affordable for schools. Lastly, the observation that BETT this year is more for Internationals with slow moving people chatting in foreign languages and much more time than I have to spare, less for teachers and even less for students.
Talking of students, I immediately missed taking Digital Leaders on the way down. I missed the train at Canning Row due to my ignorance – always before I have the students take care of the travel details. I have started Digital Leaders again this week and look forward to working with Micro:Bits with them, a VR project, and plenty more coding opportunities. DLs are vital in Y7,8 and 9 to raising interest in Computer Science and increasing numbers for GCSE and A-level, especially for girls. More
Sep 14 2017
I have just returned from our 7th North Yorkshire computing Teachers Support Group. Several colleagues commented during the day that they are going to teach the NEA differently as a result of the meeting, and I think it is important to share with other teachers to write a useful summary here. You will need to join the TSG, details here, with an index to access the significant resources which include a Student version of NEA Mark bands (3-levels), comprehensive slides to explain to students the requirements of the mark scheme, and differentiated mark schemes to provide feedback on practice NEAs. All of these are in the folder NEA Student and moderation resources CSH.
Overall, we concluded that if you (and your students) do not have a working knowledge of the Mark Bands, you run the risk of significant sections being missed out, and missing marks as a result. Also, weaker students who may struggle with some parts ofthe coding, could make up significant marks with the report. Here are the slides from the TSG showing the various references to the Mark Scheme:
Jul 8 2017
This post is to back up a talk from Rik Cross at York Regional CAS June 2017. He showed several examples of Hybrid programming environments including TOSH (https://tosh.tjvr.org/app).
I am going to use TOSH as a bridge between Scratch in Year 7 and Python in Year 8. I have adapted the list that Rik created so that Year 8s can access the Instructions as easily as possible – Scratch to Python examples of code: More
Jul 3 2017
|This the outline for our using the BBC Micro:Bit at KS3 at LLS School.
I have sorted a variety of storage to enable easy classroom management:
Previously, we did this with our Year 7s and Digital Leaders.
I did the following research, and you can see that the UCL unit was exemplary for what I needed.
UCL’s TUTORIALS: Micro:bit – Getting Started / LED Display / Basic Functions / Advanced Functions / Projects with LED Display / Buttons / Accelerometer. CHALLENGES: Consonant or Vowel? / Catch the Eggs / Caesar Cipher – Part I / Caesar Cipher – Part II.
However, some of our lower ability students have struggled with text based programming and the Python IDLE IDE, so I was also keen to give them the option of using the blocks on the BBC Micro:Bit site. This gives them a simulator to use at home (we are not giving out Microbits to Year 9s, just using them in class).
So this is our Scheme of Learning, these are the slides, 9_3_01_Microbit_Introduction, (based on Alexander Hadwen-Bennett’s slides) and this is the List of Programs to try. This is Pete Dring’s Python Simulator (for testing home learning), and the BBC site’s Block programming editor and index here.
Update: following the success of the Microbits enthusing students, as a department, we have identified opportunities for the following:
Year 7 – we have added Microbits to the current Year 7 Graphics unit by using the various BBC Block programs to show 5×5 pixels working; different brightnesses; images and animations. This will build on Block programming in Unit 2 Scratch.
Year 8 will be the current Microbits 1 Unit development work of Python, but with an optional easier pathway using blocks.
Year 9 will be a Microbits 2 Unit with binary between Microbits and Bit:BotRobots. I have just ordered 18 from Rapid Electronics (Sept17). I can fit 6 in a box like the ones above.
*Please check out EduBlocks by @all_about_code – I will be looking at this in Year 7 too*
** I am presenting on microbits at #exabytes17 with @jonwits and @romillyc on Friday July 7th
*** I am running a 2 day course at York Stem Centre “Micro:bit in secondary computing CY224” with @PDDring and @CLCSimon on 20th and 21st November 2017.
Worth £13 each https://www.amazon.co.uk/BBC-BBC2546862-micro-bit-go/dp/B01G8WUGWU?th=1
Jul 1 2017
Guizero has been agreed by Andy Parker as suitable for use by students in the Eduqas 9-1 NEA. It is needed for higher level students to show evidence of a user interface in both the design and software sections [teacher guide page 42].
My instructions for my students to install it are here and I am happy for it to be shared.
I am grateful to Laura for showing how to use Guizero at the York CAS conference June 17 and to acknowledge here the passion and dedication she has shown to get this developed. It will really make a difference to my students Laura…
See here how a simple GUI can be made with 4 lines of code: