Strategies to get kids to start thinking

There are 3 main points to this blog post: (1) Failure is OK, (2) Think outside the square and (3) Persist. These are then followed by some practical teaching ideas. We need to teach our students how to think and this can be achieved. One of the first concepts I think teachers need to teach students is that failure is OK. They need to understand that failure is part of […]

Hello Ruby: Adventures in computational thinking

“The kids of today, they tap, swipe and pinch their way through the world, but unless we give them tools to build with computers we are raising consumers, not creators” (Linda Liukas, TED Talk). I’ve recently purchased a great little picture book for my school,  called ‘Hello Ruby’ by Linda Liukas. The book was  not written to teach coding as it doesn’t teach specific programming languages. It was written to […]

STEM: ABC Splash Resources

ABC Splash has a wide range of STEM resources. You can search via year level, Reception to Year 10, or you can search via topic. The STEM topic categories include: coding, robotics, nanotechnology, design solutions, engineering, construction, Makerspaces, careers and STEM news. Types of resources include videos, discussions, Digibooks, teacher ideas, games, articles, audio and links. The videos are great as most of them have suggestions of things to think […]

EdTech SA JVillis Digital Technologies R-Y6 Resources Presentation

I am presenting today and tomorrow at the EdTechSA conference. Below is a copy of my presentation (before slight edits were made last night) and underneath the presentation, you can download a copy of my Australian Curriculum Reception to Year 6 Digital Technologies Scope and Sequence. Sharing is caring, but I do ask that you do not upload my resource to any other website, of course you can link to […]

Y6- Secondary Lego Unplugged Coding and Data Activity

Earlier this year, I attended a conference, we were seated in rows and certain rows were asked to turn around and introduce themselves  to the person sitting behind them, alternate rows didn’t turn around.  My first reaction was, ‘Oh no’, I am an introvert and these types of activities are normally well out of my comfort zone. Taking a deep breath I did so, then we were told that we […]

Turing complete- Computer science

The Turing machine, hypothesised by Alan Turing, was originally led by the question, ‘Can complex thinking be mechanised?’  It is an abstract machine that manipulates symbols (consisting of zeros and ones), according to a set of rules (code).  A Turing machine can be  thought of as an infinite piece of tape (which acts like the memory in a typical computer). It essentially has a read/write head that goes over the top of […]

The Computer Science Field Guide

The Computer Science Field Guide is an online resource for teaching Computer Science to students. It is a New Zealand based project, providing  content in the form of text (both for students and guidance for teachers), images and interactives.  The project was formed because people often confuse computer science with programming. “Computer science is about tools and techniques for designing and building applications that are very fast, have great interfaces, […]

Binary in plain English

You need to teach binary as part of the curriculum, but do really understand it? The binary number system is a base-2 number system. This means, it only has two numbers, 0 and 1. You might be thinking, our decimal number system has numbers 0-9 so why don’t we use this? Well, with electronics and computer systems, they only have two electrical states, on or off. These two states can be represented as zero […]

Live holographic teleportation? Yes!

Before I get to the live holographic teleportation, which is amazing, I’ll give you a little background information. HoloLens is mixed reality. It allows you to interact with virtual holograms and real objects in your physical world with holographic technology through a headset (the lens straps onto your head and partially covers your eyes). Last year I showed my students the Minecraft HoloLens video by Minecraft Gameplay. They were totally blown […]