Author Archives: john

Read: Why coding should at the centre of the curriculum⤴

from @ wwwd – John's World Wide Wall Display

Read Why coding should at the centre of the curriculum
Coding develops cognitive skills, problem solving and analytical thinking ("computational thinking"). By introducing and developing these abilities from primary school onwards, we create the building blocks and thought processes necessary for robotics and AI. This is not about displacing traditional subjects but, rather, changing the emphasis. Coding can comfortably sit alongside other subjects, especially those with a creative slant, reinforcing the development of key skills through multiple channels.

Coding develops cognitive skills, problem solving and analytical thinking (“computational thinking”). By introducing and developing these abilities from primary school onwards, we create the building blocks and thought processes necessary for robotics and AI. This is not about displacing traditional subjects but, rather, changing the emphasis. Coding can comfortably sit alongside other subjects, especially those with a creative slant, reinforcing the development of key skills through multiple channels.

Digital skills: Why coding should at the centre of the school curriculum | Tes

Coding certainly can develop cognitive skills, problem solving and analytical thinking. A lot of other things can too. I think it is difficult.

Any class will present a wide range of learners. Designing or adapting lessons to try and get as many of them in the right zone to develop these skills is tricky. If you don’t get this right coding is neither productive or fun.

The article notes:

. Coding can comfortably sit alongside other subjects, especially those with a creative slant, reinforcing the development of key skills through multiple channels.

I’ve certainly found that putting coding into a context can lead to more fun and success. By adding elements art or making to a coding project more pupils are involved in problem solving, collaboration and creativity.

A difficulty in managing this might be the perceive need to be an expert in several different areas. I’ve certainly found myself in situations where I’ve not be completely confident around some of these areas.

The article acknowledges that covid has had an effect:

It is a reasonable assumption that this immersion in IT and technology is preparing young people for a digital future and teaching them the skills they will need.

But we need pupils to be creators as well as users:

there is a largely unrecognised digital difference between the users of technology and the creators

I think there is also a gap around literacy and the problems that the mixing of commercial and educational interests in technology. A lot of the uptake in digital solutions lacks any questioning of the provides of these solutions.

This is something I am not very sure I’d know where to start with? Perhaps Coding is not ‘fun’, it’s technically and ethically complex:

In just a few years, understanding programming will be an indispensable part of active citizenship. The idea that coding offers an unproblematic path to social progress and personal enhancement works to the advantage of the growing techno-plutocracy that’s insulating itself behind its own technology.

Listened: Lessons from Scotland⤴

from @ wwwd – John's World Wide Wall Display

Listened Episode 46: Lessons from Scotland by The Impact Podcast from anchor.fm
The OECD has published its long-awaited report into Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). With Curriculum for Wales sharing many similarities with CfE, Jane and Finola discuss whether Wales can avoid some of the issues raised by the OECD.

Given I am pretty unlikely to read the whole of the OECD report on CfE I found this podcast very interesting. It also encouraged me to read at least the executive summary in the holidays. The hosts discuss CfE from a Welsh perspective of following in the footsteps of CfE and avoiding the pitfalls.

Both the report and the podcast hosts made the point about lack of time being a main barrier to staff involvement in curriculum development.

One of the areas discussed was the difficulty in communication the vision of CfE or Curriculum for Wales. This leads me to think a good way, given teachers are time poor, would be a series of podcasts which can be consumed while commuting or dish washing (if anyone washes dishes by hand any more). I certainly found this podcast easier to digest than I would reading the whole report.

Sidenote, the podcast is on spotify/anchor. I spent a bit of time playing with anchor as it developed but lost touch as it pivoted one time too many.

Read: Outdoor learning has improved our pupils’ attainment⤴

from @ wwwd – John's World Wide Wall Display

Read Outdoor learning has improved our pupils' attainment by Jay Helbert
Children here at early level experience 50 per cent of learning and play outdoors, those at first level have 33 per cent and second level children have a quarter of their school time outdoors. This has enabled the school to use a mixture of formal and informal learning outdoors to build in play-based and pupil-led learning, which, in turn, has helped to reduce anxiety and build resilience.

Really positive article in TES by Jay Helbert💙 (@learningjay) .

Our Forest School (in the grounds of Argyll Estate) and Beach School (on the shore of Loch Fyne) provide opportunities for a blended experience. These lessons take place weekly over the course of a school term and are child-centred experiences where teachers set up learning “provocations” and options for activities ranging from den-building and mapping to creating artwork and storytelling.

I’ve done a bit of outdoor learning in school but nowhere near the 25% the second level classes are managing here. I was interested to see this maths idea:

where children survey plant and animal species to gather data

I sometimes struggle to think up second level ideas for literacy & numeracy. I’ve mostly found early and first level ideas online.

The outdoors a great stimulus for writing, reports, narrative and poetry. Talking and listening seem built in. In maths we have done a fair bit of shape & measure and I can see the potential for data and related activities. It would be good to see a bank of ideas. 25% is more than once a week.

Bonus thought, has TES Scotland become a sort of medium for educational blogging. I am reading a lot of good stuff on TES.

Liked: Coding is not ‘fun’, it’s technically and ethically complex⤴

from @ wwwd – John's World Wide Wall Display

Liked Coding is not ‘fun’, it’s technically and ethically complex by Walter Vannini (Aeon)
Coding is seen as fun and glamorous, but that’s a sales pitch. In reality, it’s complicated, both technically and ethically
 Coding is not ‘fun’, it’s technically and ethically complex by Walter Vannini (Aeon)

Coding is seen as fun and glamorous, but that’s a sales pitch. In reality, it’s complicated, both technically and ethically

It’s better to admit that coding is complicated, technically and ethically. Computers, at the moment, can only execute orders, to varying degrees of sophistication. So it’s up to the developer to be clear: the machine does what you say, not what you mean. More and more ‘decisions’ are being entrusted to software, including life-or-death ones: think self-driving cars; think semi-autonomous weapons; think Facebook and Google making inferences about your marital, psychological or physical status, before selling it to the highest bidder. Yet it’s rarely in the interests of companies and governments to encourage us to probe what’s going on beneath these processes.

Clear well explained short and powerful article. via both Scripting News and Memex 1.1.

Perhaps we need another term for the coding like activity than can be a lot of fun for folk that have the skills that Walter Vannini explains coders need. I have a lot of fun dabbling in AppleScript, bash and JavaScript without the discipline and study necessary to be a coder.

Kids in school can have this sort of fun too, perhaps helping in maths and in skills like problem solving, working together and practical skills. Scratch and micro:bits can be a a lot of fun in a primary classroom.

Liked: Caught in the Study Web⤴

from @ wwwd – John's World Wide Wall Display

Liked Caught in the Study Web (every.to)
Exploring Gen Z’s Ambitious and Anxiety-Fuelled Pursuit of Straight A’s Across YouTube, TikTok, Discord, and Twitter

Caught in the Study Web – Cybernaut – Every

Much of Study Web parallels more adult and professional spaces that have emerged in the last decade—revered influencers, a bend towards materialism, and inspiration over analysis.

Really interesting post, strangely l’ve listened to some of the ‘music’ videos as background in my classroom of much younger learners.

Study Web is the space students have constructed for themselves in response to the irl system that just isn’t working. Unable to find a place or person to turn to with their academic and career anxieties, they find internet strangers—strange kin—to speak to, or simply share the same space with, online. Lacking the intrinsic inspiration to study for hours each day, online advice and group accountability provide a solution. Feeling isolated, virtual study partners create a sense of fellowship.

During lockdown I occasionally gave my class time to complete a short piece of work. Turning off my screen and playing some music, often the lofi type mentioned in the article. I wonder if having longer ‘working together’ sessions would have been helpful? Did anyone else try this sort of thing with primary pupils?

Link via Waxy.org

Boum⤴

from @ wwwd – John's World Wide Wall Display

How the Internet Archive Has Digitized More than 250,000 78 R.P.M. Records: See the Painstaking Process Up-Close | Open Culture

Pretty amazing project, I’ve only dipped my toe in. almost 30 year’s ago I watched Toto the Hero at the movies. It had a great theme song. Over the years I forgot the film’s name about 10 years decided to find the song. Much googling (I was looking for boom) and I eventually found it on Youtube. Today I found it again but sung in English.

I am sure there are a lot more educational used for this amazing collection of digital music.

NB the archive has a nice WordPress embed:

[archiveorg 78_boum_charles-trenet-trenet_gbia0122226a width=640 height=50 frameborder=0 webkitallowfullscreen=true mozallowfullscreen=true] I set the heigh param to a bit lover than the given 140.

Works in Glow Blogs too.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library & Bird Bingo⤴

from @ wwwd – John's World Wide Wall Display

Somewhere or other1 I Saw a link to v.2 (1799) – The Naturalist’s Pocket Magazine or compleat cabinet of the curiosities and beauties of nature. Intriguing enough which lead me to discover the Biodiversity Heritage Library:

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is the world’s largest open access digital library for biodiversity literature and archives. BHL is revolutionizing global research by providing free, worldwide access to knowledge about life on Earth.

About BHL – Information about the Biodiversity Heritage Library

There seems to be a vast collection of biological books that are free to read and download. There is also a twitter account, @BioDivLibrar and an amazing Flickr account: Biodiversity Heritage Library where there are over a quarter of a million images, many public domain. They have also contributed

over 2 million BHL images have been uploaded to the IA Book Images Flickr stream as part of the Art of Life project. These images are identified and uploaded in bulk using an algorithm. They offer a great opportunity for serendipitous discovery via browsing.

from: About Biodiversity Heritage Library | Flickr.

The Library are asking for people to help tag their flickr images and this might be a good activity for secondary pupils?

Bird Bingo


As a primary teacher, once I’d stopped just raking through some beautiful images I knocked up a quick Bird Bingo game for my class to help with bird identification. It has random cards and a caller.

There is page after page of beautiful pictures in the photo stream I defy anyone to leave it quickly. Example page 2094!

Featured Image: n456_w1150 | Natural history of the animal kingdom for the u… | Flickr public domain.

1. I don’t like not being able to attribute where I found this amazing resource.

Life in Links 42⤴

from @ wwwd – John's World Wide Wall Display

The Spring Holidays, like others will increase my blogging. It has been a busy term both home learning and back in school. Looking forward to a holiday of wee walks (still stuck in Glasgow) and some random browsing.

The Featured image is Maxwell dynamic machine, 1961 | Science Museum Group Collection © The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence found via the Never Been Seen | Science Museum Group Collection page, which I learnt about from Ian Guest

Life in Links – 40⤴

from @ wwwd – John's World Wide Wall Display

Every so often I come back to this idea of posting sets of rather random links. I love seeing them pop up on my on this day page. For organisation and discoverability it might be better to post links separately. Mostly in pinboard too.

I checked how many posts I had tagged lifeinlinks and that makes this one number 40.

Featured image, some branches against a blue sky today. convert branches.jpg -scale 900x -colorspace Gray -ordered-dither h4x4a branches.png