apps

Apps for Good – a novel way to deliver computational thinking and foster creativity

News

Apps for Good is a charitable organisation aiming to allow students the opportunity to prepare for the real world by taking part in an app-designing challenge. They have created structured programmes where young people are challenged to come up with an app which provides a solution to a real-life problem. They then take their idea through the design process, working together as part of a team.

Apps for Good provide online training for teachers, teaching materials as well as course guidelines matched with CfE outcomes. The course structure is flexible, with a short and long versions, and is free for all non-fee-paying schools. Based in London, the company currently works with over 450 educational establishments and over 22,000 students from all parts of the UK. Some of their most successful app developing teams so far have come from a school in Wick.

The scheme is suitable to use all year round, although the deadline for competition entries is normally around Easter. This isn’t obligatory – schools can choose whether or not they’d like to take part in the competition, which is really a celebration of the hard work that has been happening throughout the year. The main aim of Apps for Good is to encourage entrepreneurial spirit in young people, allowing them access to a huge variety of industry experts who are giving back to the community by taking part in the scheme.

Several Edinburgh schools are already using Apps for good, including Boroughmuir and Craigmount High Schools. Here are some thoughts from teachers who have been delivering the programme:

“The materials are good and you can easily adapt them for your class. My pupils particularly enjoyed feedback from the Expert sessions. The Apps for Good team have been extremely supportive too.”
– Ms L. Dighton, Boroughmuir HS

“For anyone looking for a course that covers programming, app design, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and marketing you should really look into it.
The course has so many benefits:
Allows students to work together to create an app to solve an existing problem
Forces students to think about solutions to problems that they encounter
Forces students to work together from generation of ideas right through to implementation and marketing.” – Mr D. Sansom, Craigmount HS

For further information about Apps for Good or to sign up, please download their flyer here or view their website here.

iPad in the Classroom Twilight

Last Monday evening saw the first of our ‘iPad in the Classroom’ sessions for this year, with over 30 teachers coming along looking for inspiration and practical tips on using iPads effectively in their teaching and learning.

Some of the apps that teachers tried out were Padlet, Lego Movie Maker, Popplet, Chatterpix Kids, Decide Now!, Book Creator, Pic Collage and Adobe Voice. It was a very hands-on session with participants working in groups to complete activities using their iPads. Teachers were also encouraged to discuss how they could modify these tasks so that they could be used across different stages and curricular areas.

From the course, here is an example of a simple animation made with Lego Movie Maker exploring the concept of division:

Microsoft Office FREE for all Edinburgh pupils and staff

imagesMicrosoft Student & Staff Advantage is now available to all Edinburgh pupils and all learning & teaching staff. This means that all learning & teaching users can now download Microsoft Office for PC, Mac and iPad for free. All that is needed to download and activate this software is the user’s Office 365 account details. Open the flyer below for more information.

Office for staff and pupils (PDF)

Resources for Computational Thinking

What is Computational Thinking and why should we teach it?

How can I teach Computational Thinking?

There are many great resources which can be used to introduce the concepts of computational thinking and programming at primary level. Below are just a few to get you started!

“Unplugged” resources: computational thinking without computers

CSUnplugged has some excellent unplugged activities organised by concept, which lay the foundations for thinking used in computer science.

Barefoot Computing offers lots of great resources with clear instructions and lesson ideas, they include a number of unplugged and PC based activities.

Resources for the PC

code.org, which hosts the Hour of Code, has many easy to follow lesson plans and resources for all ages.

Code Academy offers free, comprehensive, step-by-step online lessons about coding in a number of programming languages.

Scratch is a well known resource which uses its own language to help children create interactive games. Scratch is also available to install on all BT managed machines in Edinburgh schools, for further help see your ICT Co-ordinator.

Resources for the iPad

There are a number of great apps to help children become familiar with how computers can be programmed including Scratch Jr, Hopscotch, Kodable and Daisy the Dino.

There are many other resources available, Google offers a search engine for educators designed to filter resources for teaching Computer Science. Though it is called Computing for High School it contains many primary resources too.

Augmented Reality in the Early Years

Augmented Reality (AR) is technology which superimposes digitally generated information on to the user’s view of reality, this may take the form of a video, 2D or 3D image etc. AR works well with the iPad and a number of apps have been created which can be used creatively in teaching and learning, here are just a few examples.

AR Flashcards 

IMG_0274The award-winning company, AR Flashcards, has created free flashcards which can be downloaded from the website. Once downloaded the app is used to scan the cards or ‘triggers’ to reveal a 3D image. There are two sets of free cards including the alphabet and dinosaurs. Once scanned, touching the image on-screen causes the letter/dinosaur’s name to be read out. Multiple cards can be viewed simultaneously allowing the alphabet to be used for letter recognition, ordering and the spelling of short words such as CVC/CVVC and sight words.

 

Chromville

IMG_0265Chromville is a great, free AR app. There are five worlds on Planet Chromville, each with different themes. Currently there is one chapter (picture) for each world which, once coloured in, could act as a stimulus for both storytelling and creative writing. There are also customisable characters, which once personalised, could stimulate individual or collaborative digital storytelling.

 

 

 

Phonic Tricksters

IMG_0261Phonic Tricksters is a great app for consolidating and assessing knowledge of phonics in a fun and interactive way. Children will love chasing the Tricksters, who have stolen phonemes, around the room. In order to progress to the next stage they must identify the phoneme with a matching word. This app is free to trial and requires an in app purchase of 69p to unlock all the Tricksters.

Other interesting AR apps created by PBS Kids include Fetch! Lunch Rush, which practices addition to 20 and Cyberchase 3D Builder which, designed for 6-9 year olds, practices problem solving with 2D and 3D shape.

Digital Safety Workshops @ Clermiston Primary

IMG_0443Last term Primary 5 at Clermiston Primary School worked on a Digital Safety project. Groups were assigned CfE levels Early to Second. Using resources from the Digital Learning Team website they researched information, games and apps suitable for their target audience.  They shared safety tips using the creative apps Book Creator, Adobe Voice, Keynote and iMovie. The groups ran workshops with children from across the school, sharing what they had created and showing them apps and activities they could access on the iPad. Children who attended share their top tops in the video below.

The project was a great success and just the start of some great ideas Clermiston Primary have planned for raising the profile of digital safety and using iPads as a tool to enhance learning and teaching across all levels.