Scratch Junior: Lesson plans for Reception(K) to Year 2

Scratch Junior  is a developmentally appropriate programming language for children ages five through seven. It is available through the App Store and Google Play for free. Furthermore, if you don’t have an iPad or Android based tablet, you can emulate a full Android OS for mobile applications using the Andy Android Emulator for PC and Mac. It’s a fully functional, independent Android operating system that runs as an application in Windows or […]

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 […]

Grok Learning: Coding beyond Scratch?

Grok Learning is an online interactive platform which offers coding modules in various programming languages (ie Blockly, Python, SQL and HTML/CSS) for students in year 3 to secondary. Each Grok module guides students to develop computational thinking skills, using a step by step walk through approach for each problem. It isn’t free, but there are a range of different payment options available. However, all content is free for teachers (and pre-service […]

Integrate Coding with other subjects

Coding doesn’t have to be a stand alone subject. With the heavy demands of a full curriculum, finding ways to integrate subjects not only allows teachers to cover more content, it makes learning more meaningful for students.  Here are two unplugged (coding without devices) activities, followed by two Scratch suggestions. Firstly, I like to integrate coding with English through the genre, procedure writing. As I blogged previously, one of my favourite activities is […]

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 […]

Unplugged coding: Sandwich algorithm

Unplugged coding lessons, allow you to teach the fundamentals of computer science without a computer. This style of  coding lessons were very popular about 3-4 years ago when the term ‘coding’ became the hot topic in education, and many schools had limited access to devices. However, as schools acquired greater access to devices,  I found that teachers weren’t letting go of the unplugged activities. I recall being on yard duty two […]

Teaching game design using Scratch

I’ve just finished teaching a unit on coding and game design using Scratch. My students are in Year 5, 10-11 years of age and below is a video showing examples of some of the games they coded and designed. Below I have explained how my students achieved this. To begin with, I asked students to download Scratch so that we could work with the off line version. I did this […]