Having a Technology Team at BETT responsible for 3-18 provision was super productive. We were able to explore a range of areas over the three days, assimilate findings and meet with other colleagues who joined us at different points.
On Friday morning my Headteacher @David_Poritt landed for a power hour[s] walkthrough of what I felt were #BETT2016 highlights, new finds and to meet with our @BlueSkyMatters colleagues.
Alex, our site IT Assistant – who I’d signed up for a LEGO Science coding workshop with me arrived next. I feel it’s important for an IT team to experience new technology resources from a learner perspective, and to join in thinking around learning potential. As it turns out, Alex is a bit of a LEGO power builder!
#1 LEGO KS2 Science Workshop
This was run by Rob Winger, a LEGO Global Master Trainer who explained the LEGO curriculum is based upon project progression in three phases:
The LEGO Science platform incorporates 4 areas – Life Forces, Engineering, Physical Science, Earth & Space Science. Each is divided into 8 key areas:
We worked on Pulling, with the help of our freshly constructed WeDo bot. Each team received a LEGO box, we unpacked it’s contents and set to work to build a robot & trailer combination.
Our instinct was to whack the pieces together and attempt to incorporate all our ideas (were we such good listeners and collaborators?). Rob then pointed out that LEGO has incorporated How To’s into the IOS WeDo activities, so we started again and followed the step-by-step construction guide. Very helpful and a time saver!
Teachers, it’s good to remember that this isn’t a lesson on building with LEGO, the learning focus is programming.
There’s a short video clip explaining the programming task and code blocks with each activity in WeDo.
As excited learners we jumped straight in to build and test our hypotheses. Once we’d explored the functions of a few WeDo code blocks, we tried the ‘pull capacity’ of our bot. We found ourselves instantly drawn to find out how much MORE the trailer could carry!
Here’s what happened:
#Test 1 – with an iPhone
#Test 2 – Switched iPhone to an iPad
#Test 3 – 2 iPads…
Collaboration is an integral feature of visible learning (Hattie, 2012). We found that by combining our different experiences of LEGO building, coding, and analytical skills we were able to predict, test and retest our scientific understanding of the programming outcome.
By taking an active role in establishing understanding together, with opportunity to be both teacher and learner had an impact on our individual learning.
International collaboration was an added benefit for our LEGO team. We represented UK, the Netherlands and it was great that my friend and fellow MA student Brisia Aguirre was able to join us to represent Mexico!
I have to admit that our team was a little noisy while we had a lot of fun building and testing our bot. Thanks for the mention John Pinkney :)!
A super feature in WeDo is the Capturefunction which enables learners to record planning, testing and outcomes via screen shots, video, and open singular/multiple pages for annotations.
How would this work in practice? I’d use it to:
Students: screenshot the selected code sequence, hypothesis notes, capture a video to show how the code and paired robot and add robot build images.
Teachers: build a model, challenge students to match the build. Present a hypothesis, do you agree? Ask students to demonstrate how their program works out.
You can’t help but be enthused by Rob’s ideas for open-ended scientific investigation!
Session led by Steve Higgins, Professor of Education at Durham University. ‘The evidence based approach for measuring the impact of technology in education: Making better decisions based on evidence’
Professor Higgins discussed the use of technology in education, summarizing shifts in technology over time. Stating various examples of how tech integration or bandwagon reactions to new and available devices/trends/platforms, he concluded that aspirations often do not match what ‘Tech at the time‘ is capable of.
In the blog bio, I mention that my message to both teachers and students is generally ‘It’s not about the app (or device), but what you do with them’ that is important.
Professor Higgins, pressed for educators to prioritise impact and reinforced the need to look for the way technology changes quality of interaction in schools, not the technology itself. Our ability to understand, and to teach the skills for students to be able to distinguish between Information vs. Knowledge is important, i.e. information online versus how we use information as part of our ‘repertoire of skills’ is key.