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Along with some European colleagues we are developing a new free online course on using mobile learning technologies to run in May 2017:

Sign up here: http://dlaberasmus.eu/mooc-technology-outdoors-course

Technology Outdoors is a flexible online course that you can join in with at a pace and depth that suits you. We will suggest activities and ideas, and encourage you to try them within your teaching. We would like you to leave each week with something new to try out in practice and we will encourage you to share your experiences and swap ideas on our weekly themes within our Google+ community.

There will be a new theme and suggested activities each week:

Technology Outdoors weekly overview:

Week 1 – 1st May – Creating Trails
Week 2 – 8th May – Art in the Environment
Week 3 – 15th May – Wild Writing
Week 4 – 22nd May – Science Outdoors”
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Two new CPD courses at the University of Northampton:
Free Teaching with Tablets MOOC http://bit.ly/TWT16
and a Postgraduate Certificate in Primary Computing worth 60 masters credits which can be studied at a distance bit.ly/1MVlh2t
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!CAUTION! Another long read :) ...

Programming a TurtleBot

Computational Thinking Concepts – Algorithms and Decomposition

I am still quite new to the hardware that is available for computing however, I am somewhat familiar with a ‘TurtleBot’ (if this is the correct name). You simply program the device to move with a pen where it will draw its trail. I consider this hardware to be slightly dated but it can be very useful for introducing concepts to children such as the use of algorithms and being able to decompose them.

My lesson idea focuses on Maths, in particular shape. To begin the lesson, I would put the children in pairs to complete a short activity. The aim of the activity is for each pair to support each other with drawing a shape. One child describes the shape and explains how to draw it using only instructional/directional language. For example; ‘Put a dot anywhere on the whiteboard using your pen. From the dot, draw a straight horizontal line for 4cm going left.’

The other child is to use a whiteboard and pen to draw the shape that is described. As you can read, explaining how to draw a shape is more difficult than you imagine. You almost have to draw it in your mind in order to support your explanation. This could be particularly difficult for children so they may need a demonstration beforehand from an adult. Moving on from this, the children could then evaluate the task and how they found it. 

Some key questions could include;
- How did you find the task?
- Did you find the task difficult? Why?
- What language did your partner use when explaining?
- What language could have been used to make the explanations better?
- What skills did you have to use (both the drawer and the speaker) in order to complete the task?

These questions can really help children to ‘decompose’ the task they have just completed and begin to understand the reasoning behind it. The task could then be repeated with the improvements they identified.

The children could then be introduced to the ‘Turtle-Bot’ where they can make links between the task previously completed and the upcoming task. In order to get the robot to recreate a particular shape, the children would have to consider the most efficient algorithms to use. They could brainstorm their ideas, test and evaluate their ideas and even record their explanations to be played back. It would be lovely if at the end of the lesson, the children could share and review each other’s algorithms.

I hope this has been helpful and a good read :) Thanks!
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Devices in the home that use the internet.

I have attached a mind map of all of the devices in my home that use the internet. I can't believe how many devices run off one wireless router! It is a bit of an eye opener to how clever and powerful the internet really is. We rely so much on it these days, heaven forbid it ever stops working :)
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Hello :)
I just wanted to share the ICT blog that I created whilst studying at the University of Northampton. It provides a variety of teaching ideas and ways that ICT can be incorporated across the curriculum. I hope you find it useful, I still look back at it now! :) Many of the video clips aren't available anymore which is a bit sad but there are still lots of ideas on there to get you going. Thanks! :)

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My lesson ideas based on Turtlebots :)

I know I am very far behind but I am keen to earn my certificate so here are some of my reflections ... :)

What strategies might help to make the introduction of computing work smoothly in your classroom?
Being a Year 1 teacher, it would be far too difficult to teach whole class. Also, if equipment is scarce, this would further increase the difficulty. Therefore, I would probably do a carousel of activities for each child to access throughout a lesson. Some of the activities may be independent that include things they are already familiar with, whereas others may be adult-lead. Adult lead activities are particularly good if you are going to introduce something new to the children such as a new resource. Correct me if I am wrong, but I see much more opportunity for ‘physical computing’ in KS2. However, I believe the use of Bee-bots would be an excellent way to incorporate this aspect in KS1 as the children would be getting the Bee-bot to ‘do something’. I love the idea of letting the children explore the Bee-bots prior to introducing a structured task. 

How are you going to support and challenge all learners?
With regards to supporting/challenging all learners, this would be particularly simple seeing as Computing is a very physical subject. All learning styles would be catered for; visual and auditory through the use of directional language and kinaesthetic through the use of programming hardware. There are many ways that activities could be differentiated also in order to challenge those with higher order thinking. The objectives given could be more challenging and the programming/codes could be made more complicated. Another way to extend children’s thinking would be to give them scenarios that involve them debugging and correcting a piece of code. For those who find it more difficult, they could be given an example to manipulate slightly.

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We are delighted to be able to offer our Mooc participants a discounted Naace membership at £30 for the first year:
Special Offer - £30 Naace membership (usually £100)
Naace is the association for everyone promoting learning with technology in a connected world.  
Why become a member? 'The sheer range of people in the Naace community and the terrific expertise in just about every area that you can think of makes Naace unique for me.' Naace Member
For a limited time you can become a member at the discounted rate of £30 for the first year.
You can find details of how to apply in the course announcements:
https://openeducation.blackboard.com/webapps/blackboard/execute/announcement?method=search&editMode=true&viewChoice=2&searchSelect=_400_1&context=course&course_id=_400_1&internalHandle=cp_announcements&Handle=cp_announcements&announcementId=_1365_1&linkedContentId=&linkedContentType=&linkId=&orderNum=1&announcementType=course&ensureVisibleId=announcementList:_1365_1
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