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 […]

TGM- Team Girls Movement, promoting girls in technology roles

TGM is a non-profit organisation promoting positive female information technology role models, to encourage and raise awareness of technology careers options for girls. This organisation was founded Jenine Beekhuyzen. I saw Jenine deliver a key note at the EdTech SA conference and witnessed how committed and enthusiastic she is about the program. The program is based on an inspiring book which shows different personalities of women who work in the […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

Australian bush fire unit using Microsoft OneNote Class Notebook

This term I had to teach a unit on Australian bush fires as part of the Year 5 curriculum. The content descriptor is: The impact of bush fires or floods on environments and communities, and how people can respond (ACHASSK114) . Previously I have taught this unit with the help of a Microsoft SharePoint page which I created for the unit. I use SharePoint as it is our whole school’s learning […]

New Surface and 2017 Surface Summit, Seattle

  In March this year, I had the opportunity to fly to Seattle to visit Microsoft headquarters for the Microsoft Surface Summit in Seattle, with my Principal, Ms Paddy McEvoy (St Aloysius College, Adelaide). We were able to connect with and talk to teachers from other countries, which was a priceless opportunity.  It was also amazing to see Microsoft headquarters and meet their collaborative team from design engineers to product managers […]