Useful links

Cassini: The Grand Finale The latest news, images and videos from the Cassini mission, exploring Saturn and its moons since 2004.

Turn Students into Fact-Finding Web Detectives | Common Sense Education Show students where to look for credible information on the web. Explain that professional fact-checkers may already have done this important work for us. Use the resources in this post as references for finding vetted and fact-checked information.
Strategies for Students With Scattered Minds | Edutopia Teachers can help students strengthen their brain’s executive function with “workouts” in which they practice pausing, prioritizing, improving their working memory, and mapping their options.
Cognitive flexibility is a form of higher-order thinking that students can apply in creative problem solving and in weighing the pros and cons of multiple alternatives. Students with ADD may grab on to the first idea or answer that comes to mind. You can teach students to map their options with a graphic organizer that places the problem or question in the middle and encourages them to surround it with two or more solutions — and the more the merrier. Option mapping reinforces that there is often more than one way to solve a problem or think about a concept.
Quotable | 9 Ways to Spot Bogus Data |Some ideas from Geoffrey James’ “9 Ways to Spot Bogus Data” in Inc., subtitled “Decision-making is hard enough without basing it on data that’s just plain bad. Here are a few questions to ask. If you don’t know what some of these questions are asking there will nbe more articles to follow

“Information Literacy in the Age of Fake News” Kicks off SLJ ISTE Webcast Series | School Library Journal The first in the season of SLJ’s webcast series in conjunction with ISTE starts this month with “Information Literacy in the Age of Fake News.” It is an hour-long program on March 16 and will feature four experts who will weigh in with their perspective and provide resources and tips to address this critical topic.

The program will cover how to vet information, consider point of view and bias, establish best practices for students, and manage the digital fire hose of information.
Fake News Triangle – The Association For Media Literacy As part of its continuing efforts to support media literacy and the critical thinking that drives it, The Association for Media Literacy invites you to use the questions in this triangle to assess the news you encounter and formulate your responses to it
Free Technology for Teachers: Thunkable – Design and Publish Your Own Apps “Applications for Education. A service like Thunkable and MIT App Inventor could help your students become the next great app inventor. Both services let students test, develop, and publish their own apps. Your students might make an app that helps them study better like George Burgess who developed Gojimo did.”
10 ways to electrify class with Kahoot! | Ditch That Textbook Ideas that use Kahoot! in the classroom and various places in the school. There are 10 ideas suggested here that could easily be adapted for most classrooms.
Have You Provided Students Enough Feedback for Growth? – Work in Progress – Education Week Teacher Ongoing communication about learning is essential, not just for students and parents, but for teachers too. This thoughtful exchange allows for teachers to norm what is being said and meaningfully adjust and modify lessons to appropriately address the needs of all students
Shut the Front Door! Digital Differentiation With Google Forms  A teacher discusses how they use Google Forms. One of their favorite features allowsyous to differentiate a form for students, meaning you can send students to different questions and pages of information based on how they answer each question
Coding in the Classroom | Edutopia Ideas for teaching students to create and make with code? Explore and share resources and strategies, including activities, games, and apps, for teaching kids programming skills and computer science concepts
Spreadsheets come alive | Digital Technologies Hub Using the ‘Odds and evens’ problem as a springboard, students construct interactive spreadsheets designed to address particular needs. This lesson also demonstrates an approach to programming known as rapid application development (RAD Yr 9-10)
The Enigma Machine Explained – YouTube Science journalist and author Simon Singh demonstrates the German enigma machine, a typewriter-like device used to encrypt communications. He demonstrates not only its operation, but both the strength and fatal flaws in its method.
Home › PrimaryPad This is a web-based word processor that is designed for use by schools. It allows pupils and teachers to coordinate and work together on a real-time basis. For what is primary pad useful?: “Getting ideas, collaborating, sharing and quickly posting pieces of information when working in a group or collaborative environment. Improving important typing and English skills as well as critical thinking.” This web-app has an initial three month trial period.
Online Word Processor | Create & Edit Documents Online – Zoho Writer This is a feature packed, cloud based, collaborative word processor. It is designed to make collaboration easy with a better final document as the likely result. The interface on this app is appealing and very intuitive. It is easy to share and track collaboration as the document goes from draft to review to distribution

Games@NOAA NOAA’s Games Planet Arcade offers twenty-six educational games for young students. The games are intended to help students learn about oceans, wildlife, and weather. Twenty of the games address topics related to marine life.

While the games are not terribly complex or fancy, they do offer some solid information for young students. For example, the Humpback Whale Migration game isn’t much more than a board game that provides students with information about Humpback whales. As students move across the board they are stopped at spaces offering facts about the annual migrations of Humpback whales.
3 Fast, Free Lesson Plans to Fight Fake News @coolcatteacher This blog post is part of the CM Rubin World Global Search for Education which poses a question each month to leading educators for reflection and sharing. This month’s question is “how do we fight the fake news epidemic?”
ICT and Digital Technologies Good explanation of the differences between digitech and iCT skills
9 Key Things to Know Before You Buy a New Computer Useful article for students to read for Digitech class
Rewordify.com | Understand what you read Rewordify allows you to dump in text and hit ‘parts of speech’ and it colour codes the parts of speech you have used in your writing. Link is below. You can also only highlight the parts of speech that you would like to focus on. Are you using enough adjectives in your writing?etc.
Assessment – Digital Technologies Hub This page provides links to advice for secondary teachers about how to assess student progress against key elements of the Digital Technologies curriculum. Links to some useful rubrics in the lesson ideas featured in the Secondary ‘Getting started’ sections of the site. Also refer to the formative and summative assessment advice in the effective teaching section.
ASCII – What is It and Why Should I Care? ASCII, pronounced “ask-ee” is the acronym for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. It’s a set of characters which, unlike the characters in word processing documents, allow no special formatting like different fonts, bold, underlined or italic text. All the characters used in email messages are ASCII characters and so are all the characters used in HTML documents. (Web browsers read the ASCII characters between angle brackets, “<” and “>”, to interpret how to format and display HTML documents.)
The first programmable system Programmable systems are by no means a modern invention. In fact, many regard the first to be Ktesibios’s water clock, which was invented approximately 2250 years ago. In this activity, students apply what they know to state inputs, processes and outputs of unfamiliar programmable systems.
Doc bot game You can try out the Faratron Space Mission Control game to see how you can help save the world! Part of the” communication over distance” educational tools
Workshop: Simulate computer – Children and Technology by Misha Leder Draw a computer and look at computer components. Use children to simulate mouse, IO controller and a processor on the example of Calculator program. Before simulating the whole system, let kids get a feel of each individual component. For younger students
BBC Bitesize – KS3 ICT – ICT systems Class Clips Short Video clips on a range of topics

Applications of programmable systems Activity info, teachers’ notes and curriculum links

An engaging activity in which students work in teams to research details about one programmable system from the past. They then present their findings and work as a class to build up a timeline. Students can then work independently using this timeline, plus other key inventions, to describe and explain patterns in the development of programmable systems.
The activity sheet includes teacher notes, guidance, useful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in each of the four devolved UK nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Analysing the Game This resource explores the use of Opta Sports data – the technology behind football match analysis.

Opta Sports Data uses leading edge technology to compile team and player performance data for a range of sports and has quickly become a staple for a variety of organisations. These range from broadcasters using the data to develop innovative television graphics solutions, to coaches using the information to monitor and compare team and player performances from week to week.
Every touch of the ball can be monitored live from over 2,000 games of football a year resulting in over 4,000,000 individual events. Opta provides the full analysis from the English Premier League, Italy’s Series A, the German Bundesliga, France’s Ligue One and the UEFA Champions League.
Plotting a Plan to Improve Writing: Using Plot Scaffolds – ReadWriteThink To facilitate students’ thinking and problem-solving skills, this lesson tasks students with turning a plot scaffold into a written narrative. Students learn kinesthetically by acting out the scaffold “script” while collaborating with others to determine character motivations and dialogue. Students transition from actors to writers by having mental conversations with the characters they have created and letting their characters dictate how the story will evolve. Students are also prompted to insert imagery and use proper grammar in their written narrative.
Computational Thinking: Number Hive Puzzles | Teaching London Computing: A RESOURCE HUB from CAS LONDON Computational Thinking: Cut Hive Logic Puzzles is a booklet on computational thinking based on logic puzzles. Try and solve some simple logic puzzles while learning about computational thinking and especially logical thinking. The booklet is written by Paul Curzon of Queen Mary University of London.

CodeCombat – Learn how to code by playing a game Encourages you to practice the hollistic abilities you need as a programmer – Problem solving, creative and critical thinking and patience.

When you sign up, you get to create your own profile and set your own character up for play. I love a bit of personalisation. This is important to get players engaged. Code Combat is excellent at this. The beginning levels are well scaffolded with examples in the code and a bank of “spells” – or Java that I can use. As the levels get harder the scaffolds for skills we’ve already practised start to disappear and you find yourself just doing it on your own. You even get tempted to start experimenting.
Student Competitions & Challenges – Aussie Educator Throughout each year academic and other competitions and challenges are available for students and schools. These cover all curriculum areas from Language to The Arts. Some are run by subject organisations, some by governments, some by private organisations, some by international groups.

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

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Useful links

How to Teach Coding Like a Granny – Joel Speranza“The digital technologies curriculum is here and everyone is trying to figure out how to teach the thing. Particularly the coding bit, that’s the steepest learning curve for most teachers and with good reason. As students we experienced math, science, english, humanities, PE. But coding is different. Most of us are simply too old to have experience with coding in a school setting. We haven’t seen teachers teach it before and suddenly we’re being asked to teach it ourselves?”

code-it | Junior Computer Science “This site offers computing resources produced by Phil Bagge. You can click on the CS Planning link for a selection of computer science and information technology resources suitable for primary pupils.”
What makes an excellent programming curriculum? | code-it “Programming projects should reflect a wide range of different programming genres, those that arise for example from mathematical, literacy, music or gaming backgrounds. Variety helps a broad spectrum of students to realise that programming can be relevant to their lives.”
Ideas for Using Minecraft in the Classroom | Edutopia “Minecraft is no longer a new tool in the field of game-based learning. Because Minecraft has such open possibilities and potential, teachers have been experimenting with different ways to use it in the classroom for a while now. Some teachers use it to teach math concepts like ratios and proportions, while others use it to support student creativity and collaboration. (Minecraft Education Edition, which launched on November 1, 2016, has additional features for collaboration.) There are some ideas here about some of the ways you can use Minecraft in the classroom:”
Designing Quality Infographics: Tips, Resources and Inspiration “Infographics are graphic visual representations of data and information. They can assist in explaining complex information, numbers or data quickly and effectively. There are some tips for designing quality infographics as well links to some resources and ideas for inspiration.”
88 Assistive Technology Tools for Struggling Learners. Learning Specialist and Teacher Materials – Good Sensory Learning: 88 Assistive Technology Tools for Struggling Learners This post talks about 15 different types of assistive technology that can benefit struggling learners with links to the authors favourite tools. There are links to a more comprehensive discussion of these technologies as well.
Tony Wagner’s Seven Survival Skills – Tony Wagner These skills are familair to thise in educations, Each of the seven are defined by business leaders in their own words. They are: Critical thinking and problem-solving. Collaboration across networks and leading by influence. Agility and adaptability. Initiative and entrepreneurship. Effective and written communication. Accessing and analysing information. Curiosity and imagination.
A Great Visual To Help You Integrate Visible Thinking Routines in Your Class ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning One way to create a thinking cuture in class is to use “Visible Thinking, as a learning approach. This makes extensive use of thinking routines in class.These routines are simple structures( eg a set of questions or a short sequence of steps, that can be used across various grade levels and content. The way they become routines, versus merely strategies, is to use them constantly in the classroom so that they become part of the fabric of classroom culture. The routines become the way students go about the process of learning.” Included here is a great infographic created by Langwitches.
eSafety Homepage | Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner Australian Govt site: “Enhancing online safety for children” The Cybersmart Schools Gateway is a great resource for teacher planning and houses a wide range of cybersafety information and teaching resources for primary and secondary schools. These accessible and engaging materials are designed to help schools develop and implement a holistic approach to cybersafety. Includes the popular Cybersmart Outreach program to book professional presentations to teachers, parents and students on cybersafety. Administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
Word Search Generator :: Create your own printable word find worksheets @ A to Z Teacher Stuff Simple to use this enables you to create your own custom word search worksheets. There are a variety of options available including font size, font style, lowercase or uppercase letters, grid shape, word placement, and more to customise you creation.
Puzzle Choice – Crosswords, online and printable puzzles and games “PUZZLE CHOICE offers online and printable puzzles and games. Choose from many different types of printable and online CROSSWORDS. There is also a daily US style crossword. You can play WORD SEARCH puzzles or see the WORDPLAY section for anagrams, offers brainteasers and other printable word games. The ONLINE GAMES section has jigsaws, mazes, memory games and a choice selection of classic puzzles and games. Kids young and old can visit the KIDS’ CHOICE section for a variety of puzzles and games for all ages.”
Lawstuff Australia – Know Your Rights – – Topics – Sexting This page explains the legal implications for sexting in Victoria. For example – If under 18, you will not be put on a sex offenders register in Victoria unless you are already on a sex offenders register in another state. Not all states have the same law. In NSW you will be put onto a register even if under 18 years.

Lawstuff Australia – Know Your Rights – – Topics – Photos & Videos on Your Phone “This page explains the laws that apply when you use the photo or recording functions on your phone. It also explains what you can do to stay out of trouble and your options if someone has an inappropriate photo or video of you.”

Digital Literacy and Learning in the United States | Pew Research Center “In this report, we use newly released Pew Research Center survey findings to address a related issue: digital readiness. The new analysis explores the attitudes and behaviors that underpin people’s preparedness and comfort in using digital tools for learning as we measured it in a survey about people’s activities for personal learning.”
8 digital life skills all children need – and a plan for teaching them | World Economic Forum Today digital skills are an essential part of a comprehensive education framework. The challenge for educators is to move beyond thinking of IT as a tool, or “IT-enabled education platforms”. Instead, they need to think about how to nurture students’ ability and confidence to excel both online and offline in a world where digital media is ubiquitous. Like IQ or EQ – which we use to measure someone’s general and emotional intelligence – an individual’s facility and command of digital media is a competence that can be measured. We call it DQ: digital intelligence. And the good news is that DQ is an intelligence that is highly adaptive. DQ can broadly be broken down into three levels: Digital citizenship. Digital creativity. Digital Entreneurship”
Diigo – Budd:e Cybersecurity Education – Secondary Teacher Resources The secodary tschool teacher page that discusses how to use Budd:e site. Created for Australian students the Budd:e Cyber Security education package comprises a series of media-rich and interactive learning activitie. The package comprises two learning modules – one for primary students and one for secondary students. These can be used to assist students adopt safe and secure online practices.
Budd:e Cybersecurity Education – Secondary Created for Australian students the Budd:e Cyber Security education package comprises a series of media-rich and interactive learning activitie. The package comprises two learning modules – one for primary students and one for secondary students. These can be used to assist students adopt safe and secure online practices.
Bullying. No Way! Bullying No Way! is an educational website for Australian school communities and the general public. As well as providing information for individuals, the website provides online curriculum and other resources to support the bullying prevention work of schools. Cybersafety resources and information aimed at children, parents and teachers are provided on the website.
eSmart Schools | National Centre Against Bullying “Developed for Australian schools, eSmart is an easy-to-use, evidence based and tested system to help schools manage cybersafety and deal with cyberbullying and bullying. The eSmart system provides a framework for schools to implement whole-school culture and behaviour change relevant to the smart, safe and responsible use of digital technologies. eSmart is an initiative of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation.”
What We Do Offers a cybersafety module for middle primary students delivered in schools by Life Education. bCyberwise has been developed in partnership with McAfee to educate children on how to stay safe online and develop positive online communication skills. bCyberwise includes online resources to support teachers in the classroom.
Student Wellbeing Hub – Home This is a one-stop shop for information and resources underpinned by the National Safe Schools Framework. The Hub assists school communities to nurture student responsibility and resilience, build a positive school culture, foster respectful relationships and support students who are impacted by anti-social behaviour, including bullying and cyberbullying.
Top 10 Tools for Creating Digital Quizzes ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning An annotated list that is a “collection of some of the most popular quizzing tools that have covered in this blog. Be it a flipped, blended, virtual or even traditional classroom, the tools  below will enable you to easily create interactive quizzes, questionnaires and polls to share with students in class. “

Teaching code via our “coding club”

We have recently started a junior coding club at our school, after not managing to have a subject put into the year 8 curriculum. It is interesting how to see how each week a few more boys are joining our ranks. It was also great to have some of our year 10 students offer to work with the younger boys as mentors and teachers. It has been many years since I have really worked in this area so it is a big learning curve for me but with the good will of the students we are all learning together  and having fun at the same time.

I thought I would include the infographic below. It sums up some of the questions we had to face when we wanted to introduce coding into the junior curriculum. Sometimes it is very frustrating but in the long run there will be a greater acceptance that coding is a useful skill for all students. It can encourage and develop a range of skills in our students: problem-solving, logical thinking, interpretation of data/information, innovation and original ideas,  abstract thought and creativity. Our students will learn to be creators, not just consumers at the mercy of other developers, or at least better understand the world they inhabit.

I still argue that we should  Teach coding to students, it’s an important skill. (A post I wrote 12 months ago). More articles are being written and research undertaken  that also support this view. One interesting article I read back in August was Coding overtakes French as UK’s most popular second language in primary schools. The headline alone piqued my interest.

So we continue with the coding club and lay the groundwork for all students to have access this most useful way of developing a range of skills. 
Teaching Coding in Classroom

Courtesy of: AssignmentHelpNet

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.