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This weeks Twitter chat on Networks and the internet 

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Just three days to go until our STEM to STEAM online course begins:
Our DLaB group are really excited about sharing our ideas for digital learning across subject boundaries with you, and then taking them further in this community as we did last year with Technology Outdoors. We do hope you can find time to join in over the next three weeks 😊

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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:

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
and a Postgraduate Certificate in Primary Computing worth 60 masters credits which can be studied at a distance

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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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!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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