Farewell to Tim!
Very sadly for our team we are farewelling Tim Thatcher this week!
Tim is leaving the UTB family to take up an exciting positing with TANZ e-Campus as an Instructional Designer, designing and developing online courses for tertiary institutions and companies throughout New Zealand. He'll be working alongside engineers and developers to integrate machine learning in order to better support the achievement of learners.
We've loved having Tim as part of our team and will miss his passion and enthusiasm for tech. He's contributed so much to the schools he's worked with as well as us as trainers, especially around The Arts and robotics.
Tim - we'll really miss you but we know you are heading off to do great things in your new role.
All the best and keep in touch!
something to make you think...
Shooting robots in schools?
Bloomberg's Youtube channel consistently provides thought provoking content about technology.
In this video they explore tech giant DJI's new shooting robot. While this is no different to nerf guns and battle bots its integration of new high level technology is certainly thought provoking. The robot drives at high speed and can be controlled via a tablet with a video link. The robot shoots water capsules and can sense when it has been shot.
How hard would it be for someone to turn the pellet gun into a real gun? Would you want your child playing with this robot? How will this technology evolve?
The scary thing for me is that this product is intended to be used by schools. Students will get to build the robot then use the popular coding interface Scratch 3.0 to code it.
Shooting robots in schools? What are your thoughts?
blog posts you may have missed
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Something we think you'll like...
Workbench in Google
You may have recently heard that Workbench was aquired by Google and has some great educational resources.
Workbench gives you access to a library of lessons and projects, organized by subject and grade level. It also offers an interface that allows you to be able to control bluetooth devices via coding.
The other nice feature is that you are able to read and write the coding from spreadsheets, so data colleted via forms or from remote devices can be maninpulated and managed via block coding.
We are exploring how to integrate this with Micro:bit and Sphero at the moment and we will keep you updated with our progress.
Check out the video above for an overview.
Google Slides Update
Google Slides has two new updates coming which will be useful when using Slides in present mode.
You will be able to add blank spaces - great for pausing and asking questions or allowing for discussion time. You will also be able to set the slides to automatically loop.
Chrome Extension Toolbar Menu
If you're like us you may have just a few extensions installed on your Chrome browser.
We use the extension Extensity to help manage them all - it allows you to turn them on and off as you need them.
But we recently discovered another way to manage them that clears them all from next to the omnibox and just makes life feel a little less cluttered - it's one of Chromes experimental flags.
In the omnibox (or the address bar) type in chrome://flags/#extensions-toolbar-menu . This will take you to all the flags Chrome has available but the extension toolbar menu should be highlighted. Simply enable it. All you extensions will now be under one jigsaw looking icon. (You'll need to reload the page to action the change.)
Click on the icon and you'll see a dropdown list of all your extensions.
Keep in mind this is an experimental feature so it may change in the future.
Join Google and Using Technology Better for a special training for school leaders
A day for empowering school leaders to go beyond talking about the need to change, to actually achieving the change you desire, faster than you thought possible!
This day is for school leaders only, and will be limited to 30 people (3 people max per school).
During this day you will:
- Experience the exact process that Google uses to develop their culture of innovation.
- Use a design thinking process with your own schools context, and leave with a solution to your most pressing issue.
- Understand the 7 essential elements of school transformation, and how to ensure your technology plan succeeds.
- Discover what is on offer for free from the Ministry of Education to better help you manage student devices.
- Receive all our frameworks, resources, and knowledge needed to lead your school through the school transformation process.
Wellington, NZ - 9 September 2019
Hamilton, NZ - 10 Septemeber 2019
And it is at NO cost to you!
I was recently given the challenge of working with some English teachers on what computational thinking might look like in their class.
I developed a quick warm up activity called 'Codeded Snap Poetry'. Participants were provided 4 words that they had to use in a 6 line poem. Each word was associated with a sound (an IF statement) so when the poem was read out the audience would make the sound which corresponded to the word. This made for an entertaining exploration of how basic computer science principles can be weaved into other content.
- From Tim
YoTeach is a free back channel you can use in your classroom for students to ask questions during a teaching session.
You can password protect it so only those with the password can contribute, or you can leave it open for anyone to use.
It has the function for students to type their questions or thoughts and there is also a drawing function. This tool brings up a whiteboard that has auto draw built in - they start to draw and it shows suggestions of what their image could be. They click on it and it drops in. Magic!
And of course it doesn't have to be the teacher monitoring the channel - students could monitor it also.
YoTeach is a great tool to allow for all voices to be heard.
Product review by tim
The Finch 2.0 accomodates the Micro:bit and adds much more functionality to this tool. It also features LED lights, bluetooth connectivity, marks on wheels for counting revolutions, light sensors and much more.
One of the coolest features is that students can draw on the robot with white board markers, adding some creative flair to their robot.
Check out all the features of this exciting new product here.
Created with images by JJ Ying - "untitled image" • senjinpojskic - "connect jigsaw strategy puzzle pieces business solutions"