Useful links

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Useful links

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Teach coding to students, it’s an important skill.

Our Minister for Education has been praising the review of the “National Curriculum” This report has caused quite a lot of angst across the board but  technology in particular may well be phased back, especially before year 9. Whilst most agree that there is a  crowded curriculum many do not believe that studying  ICT contributes to a this unnecessarily. Many will argue that ICT skills are fundamental and it is critical that they should form part of the core curriculum, along with numeracy and literacy, in this increasingly digitized world.

Today I came across this well designed together infographic that explains how teaching coding to students, even young students, has several benefits and  why teachers must teach coding to their students. It is offers a very good argument for teaching the skills.

It was created by Kodable and is an iOS app that teaches children various coding and programming concepts through a variety of maze activities.The free version allows users to play the first 30 levels (Smeeborg World) for free.  The Pro version (has a small fee) offers full access, giving you a total of 4 Worlds. I have only seen the work of others as I use microsoft and android options.

Please include attribution to Kodable with this graphic.

5 Reasons to Teach Kids to Code

A few links to other posts/tools that might be useful:

7 Apps for Teaching Children Coding Skills Digital learning specialist Anna Adam provides a quick overview of seven apps that are appropriate for teaching younger children one of the most critical 21st century skills: coding.

Ten Resources for Helping Students Learn to Code and Program  by Richard Byrne on his blog Free technology for teachers. Very well explained uses for 10 tools.

Engaging 6th Graders With Coding A guest post on Richard Byrne’s Free technology for teachers where a teacher discusses how she approached teaching coding to her class.

Scratch Tutorials provides guidance on getting starting with Scratch with kids. Scratch is a website from MIT specifically for kids. Kids can program stories, games, and animation. It’s so empowering for kids to be able to learn how to build their own programs.

A useful pinterest board is Coding or Programming for students that collects all sorts of resources.

The 2014 Inky’s and YASLA Teens’ Top Ten

This week we had the announcement of some YA literature awards. First I was pleased to see the announcement of the winners of the Gold  and Silver Inky Awards. The Inkys are awards for teenage (or YA) novels and are co-ordinated by the Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria via insideadog. This year we was the 8th year of the Awards that are voted for online by the readers (who are under 20) of insideadog.com.au who can be from anywhere in the world. You can look at the titles on this year’s long and short lists and also go back to previous years lists and there are links to previous lists from here.  There have been many wonderful titles that have made these lists so all are worth a look even if they are not the eventual winners. The 2014 winners: The First Third by Will Kostakis and   All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry

  • Gold Inky Award (Australian book): The First Third by Will Kostakis The second novel from the author and it is this is both a funny and sad book about families and adolescence. The main character, part of a Greek-Australian family, is 17 year old  BillyTsiolkas.
    • Publisher’s website with teaching notes here.
    • Melina Marchetta interviews Will Kostakis here.
  • Will Kostakis tells us about his book ‘The First Third’ in the video below

  • Silver Inky Award (International book): All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry  Abducted 4 years previously, Judith is back but  has been mutilated by her abductor, who also murdered her friend. Shunned by the people around her she has to decide if she can regain her voice even if it changes everything around her. A very powerful story.  In the video below, author Julie Berry introduces the novel, “All the Truth That’s In Me.”

We have both these books in our library. They have been read students at our school over the last few months and they would agree that they are great stories.

A few days ago the YALSA’s 2014 Teens’ Top Ten titles were also announced. This Teen Choice list engaged Teens’ Top Ten book groups in sixteen school and public libraries around the country in reading and voting. The selected titles will also be included on the  Teen Book Finder App. It is now available for Android as well as iOS devices and anything that helps encourages my students to read is something I encourage. This app also offers a way to broaden the reading lists of my students in Australia by publicizing and promoting a broader range of book titles than they might otherwise see in the local library.

Useful links

The more you read Dr Seuss-web
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  Debbi Long 

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Useful links

Quote-Creativity is contagious, pass it on – Albert Einstein-web

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

The future is here, almost! Machine Wars by Michael Pryor

Stories about future societies, especially dystopian ones, are high on our “most popular books” lists. Most are about surviving in this new somewhat alien worlds, Hunger Games and Maze Runner, and many are read across most year levels. Other favourites include: Bzrk (#1 of series) by Michael Grant, 0.4 (#1 series) by Mike Lancaster, The Hunt (#1 of trilogy) by Andrew Fukuda and Skinned (#1 Cold Awakening trilogy) by Robin Wasserman. 

Michael Pryor‘s book is set at the beginning, when the hero might just have a chance to stop things before society is forced to change and is enjoyed mostly by our younger students, the 12-13 year olds. The setting is now, today and easily believable.

Machine Wars

14-year-old Bram comes home late and as he arrives at the gate senses something is wrong. It is part of the survival strategy that his parents have drilled into him all his life. Bram’s mother is a brilliant scientist who is a world leader in the artificial intelligence world. She has always been aware that things could go wrong in her field and has planned for it. Bram has an elaborately planned survival plan, called “Scatter and Hide”, that has been designed to give his mother time to find a solution to the disaster. She asks Bram to stay out of the clutches of Ahriman (as the AI calls himself) for 3 weeks. He must not be taken hostage if she is to figure out how to overcome the rogue AI. This turns out to be easier said than done. With the help of his friend Stella and Bob, another AI unit, built by his mother and put into his childhood toy duck, Bram works hard to stay free. It is not easy to stay out of the clutches of a being that controls the internet. In today’s world staying off-line and off the grid is difficult especially when so many everyday activities are dependent on technology without you being really being aware of it. Bram teaches Stella to use a slingshot against some of Ahriman’s creations and Bob has some very useful moves as they try to stay ahead of their pursuer.

Bram is intelligent and a bit of a loner due to moving around a lot due to his parents working arrangements. He has developed various coping mechanisms such as using different character voices to hide his feelings. Stella, his new friend, is independent, thinks for herself and belongs to no single group but is friendly with all. Together, along with Bob, they decide that it is sometimes better to attack than just hide. Their days are spent alternatively hiding and planning then carrying out ways to fight back.

There are some humorous moments such as the description of Bram trying to find a way of keeping up with the news without technology and Stella walking across to a newspaper seller to buy the “old-fashioned” option.

View all my reviews

From the authors site, a page that discusses the novel, the story behind, its writing and links to other information.

Teacher Notes from Random House here.

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