I have put together a list of websites I think are useful for things related to ICT, computer science, digital literacy and digital citizenship. You can find it at https://delicious.com/albinwallace/
In July 2012, I was invited by the Guardian newspaper to take part in a debate about innovations in ICT teaching and the importance of children being taught how to programme computers in a move to create the technological innovators of the future. Other participants included:
•Phillip Inman (chair), economics correspondent, The Guardian
• Rosemary Luckin, professor of learner-centred design, The London Knowledge Lab
• Peter Barron, director of external relations, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Google
• Dr Peter Dickman, engineering manager, Google
• Matthew Harrison, director, education, Royal Academy of Engineering
• Ian Livingstone, co-founder, Games Workshop, Fighting Fantasy, White Dwarf, Eidos Interactive
• Neil McArthur, innovation director, TalkTalk
• Alasdair Blackwell, director, Decoded
• Alan Mycroft, professor of computing, University of Cambridge; trustee, Raspberry Pi Foundation
• Chris Mairs, chief scientist, Metaswitch Networks
The Guardian article as a result of the debate may be found at http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/jul/10/digital-literacy-roundtable
Today I attended a Guardian newspaper round table debate on digital literacy and computer science. The write-up of the debate will be published in the education section of The Guardian on 10th July. There were 20 of us in the debate including Dr Peter Dickman (engineering manager of Google), Ian Livingstone OBE (founder of Games Workshop and author of Next Gen report), Professor Alan Mycroft (inventor of the Raspberry Pi and Cambridge professor) and Professor Matthew Harrison (director of education of The Royal Academy of Engineering). The debate was a fascinating one covering a wide range of issues related to computer science in schools.
A couple of weeks ago, I also spent an interesting day at the University of Birmingham attending the Computing At School 4th annual conference for teachers. After inspirational talks from Simon Peyton Jones, Bill Mitchell and Dave Cliff we broke into workshops and seminars. I spent a productive afternoon playing with Arduino, Kodu, Scratch and the Raspberry Pi.
Further information on the conference may be found at www.computingatschool.org.uk
Slowly, quietly but surely and with subversion in its heart, programming is returning to classroom. The currently dysfunctional ICT curriculum, the Royal Society Review and the gathering forces of spontaneous groups such as Computing At School are taking us to a brighter ICT future. No longer satisfied with the dreary gym workouts of Microsoft Office and the slick, surface sheen of the Web, children and teachers are taking a peek underneath the hood of the machine. How does this thing work?
What can we make it do? Constructivism by a new, postmodern name.
Building apps, writing Scratch programmes, building Arduino inventions, even in the dusty apocalyptic corridors of the mathematics department, Logo is iterating itself back to life.
In a new world of educational conservatism, perhaps ICT will reinvent itself as a steampunk phenomena, education as knowledge manifesting itself in Victorian values brought to life by a new age of steampunk electronics. The delight of teaching a computing device to perform elegantly simple tasks. Drawing a hexagon, turning a light on and off, making simple electronic sounds. Instead of creating vast,
shiny, modernist artefacts in the classroom at the gesture of a finger, maybe we should be returning to the how and the why instead of the what, when and who of computing.
Children have a gonzo approach to computers. Hacking is no longer a dirty word and writing Apps can be delicious and nutritious. It is time we stopped being so pathetically impressed by the technology and started questioning, deconstructing the robot and seeking out the ghost in the machine.
There were some good old days with learning technologies. I remember reading Seymour Papert’s Mindstorms (see video on right) and the thrill and joy of using Logo for the first time on an Apple IIe. Relive those heady days with FMSLogo.
FMSLogo is a free implementation of a computing environment called Logo, which is an interactive programming language that is simple, powerful, and best of all fun. You can download FMSLogo from the project portal on SourceForge.
There are many Logo environments to choose from, so why do I like FMSLogo?
- FMSLogo has a simple GUI that encourages learning.
- FMSLogo provides support for exploring diverse disciplines, including mathematics, engineering, art, music, and robotics.
- FMSLogo is smaller than most other Logo environments — it still fits on a floppy disk (if there still was such a thing).
- FMSLogo runs fine on computers that are 10 years old.
- FMSLogo has a strong, international user community with over a decade of classroom experience.