Friday, 20 October 2017

STEM Kits, books and other resources

The latest ebooks and books we have available on STEM for our teachers and students

A list of the resources available to borrow from LEX. We also have a taster kit for school to try out one of each STEM device.  The taster kit can be borrowed for 1-2 weeks.

A handy way of charging all your STEM equipment is via a multi-port USB charger.  This is the charger we have bought for charging spheros, blue bots etc. 

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

OLN Lawson Tech Girls are Superheroes - 2107 App Launch

On Monday August 21st,  at Our Lady of the Nativity, Lawson two teams of Tech Girls launched their apps - their entries in the Tech Girls are SuperHeroes Competition for 2017. The girls, who are Stage 3 students, celebrated at the school assembly with the school community and and at a special morning tea in the library with invited guests and their families.  Special guests included Trish Doyle, NSW MP for the Blue Mountains and Greg Whitby, Executive Director, Catholic Education, Diocese of Parramatta.   

At the launch,  the girls shared the app they had designed to engage others within in their own local community with finding solutions to global issues. As part of the curriculum, the girls design their app using App Inventor and also develop a business plan and a video pitch.  The teams were supported throughout the projects by their Teacher Librarian Maree Crawford. Additional assistance included 2 female Mentors from Accenture Technology and one of theDads, Joshua McKinnon. the students used Skype to connect with their mentors weekly- a very appropriate way the students can overcome the barrier of distance from Sydney.

We wish to congratulate both of this year's teams who entered the Tech Girls are Superheroes competitions. Preview their entries in the videos below

FIGURES OF HOPE: Lillie, Mikayla and Bridgette addressed homelessness and ways to provide support.

OUTSHINE THE SUN:  Chelsea, Gabe and Lizzy. Their app was concerned with finding solutions to climate change

"Outshine the Sun" App Team and planning

In undertaking this challenge students have developed skills and knowledge from the current NSW Design and Technology K-6 syllabus. They have also developed a broad range of contemporary learning skills - including communication and collaboration, personal and social capability, creative and critical thinking, ICT capability . The photos show some of their ideation phase as well as planning their interface design.

We are very excited to announce that the "Outshine the Sun" team are NSW State finalists for the Primary Section in 2017. This is the second year the students of Our Lady of Nativity have reached the finals. Last year their team scored second place. We wish them success at the NSW Techgirls are Superheroes Showcase to be held at Darling Harbour later this week.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Technology at Kirinari - Xavier College

Blue Bots, Makey Makey and Little Bits are highly engaging tools in the classroom. 

Students at Kirinari - Xavier College were able to practise a variety of skills and achieve multiple outcomes utilising these STEM technologies. 
This includes - 
  • communication
  • teamwork in pairs
  • problem solving
  • leadership skills
  • listening skills and following instructions from their partner
  • story telling and writing
Every student displayed resilience, perseverance and determination as they were participating in each task. The tasks were open-ended and, often, student-driven. All of the students were engaged throughout the various activities. And they all had fun!

Monday, 30 January 2017

Robots in the 2017 classroom - a guide for teachers

A very useful guide for teachers to gain an overview about robots in the Australian classroom has been compiled. Originated by educator Roland Gesthuizen it aims to give teachers information about what works well from practitioners in the field.  A range of educators from across Australia are contributors.  It provides:
  • some quick tips about best practice to introduce robotics in your classroom/school
  • a list of different robotic resources with information from educators who have used them or seen them used in schools
  • a table of features
  • an age recommendation table of when the technology would be best introduced

Access the Robots in the 2017 Australian classroom guide by clicking on the image adjacent or click here.

Our CEDP teachers have access to kits they can borrow to trial different robotic resources.  Click on the image below to access the kit information or access the STEM resources for coding kit document .

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Stimulate STEM in your classroom with SPHEROS

What are SPHEROS?

A sphero is a spherical robotic that students can program with ease using apps for the iPad or Android device.  The Sphero is highly engaging with its ability to roll at various speeds rolling. It also has engaging colour changing and sound features.

Using SPHEROs for learning

This durable, highly engaging robot provides a great entry point for inquiry,  inventive thinking and learning using coding in the following curriculum areas:
  • Mathematics in determining speed, distance, geometry
  • Geographical location and directions
  • Design new vehicles incorporating the sphero 
  • Create artworks
  • Problem solving
Target student audience
Sphero can be used initially by students who may not know how to program and then  that learning can be extended to further develop the students' coding ability. We see that the sphero can be used in the early years but is probably best suited to learners in Years 3-6.

Programming the Sphero 
The main app for use with the Sphero is Lighting Lab but there is also the opportunity to use other apps such as Tickle and Tynker. When programming the Sphero
  • Beginners can use the drawing tools to program a pathway for the Sphero to travel.
  • Intermediate coders use block coding in a drag and drop environment, while
  • Advanced users can utilise text based programming
Sphero Olympics - a case study from OLOR Kellyville:

Recently Stephen Bamford and his Year 6 students participated in a Sphero Olympic Challenge. For inspiration they used Nathan Jones iBook Sphero Olympics, available on the iBookstore. Thereafter the ideas flowed. The students were organised into twelve teams representing a range of countries - a Sphero Olympic Ceremony was devised. Competitive events included sprints, chariot racing, swimming, sailing, archery and also a Gymnastics floor routine event. Overall the Sphero Olympics proved to be an engaging learning experience for students which helped students engaged in coding to meet outcomes from both Science & Technology and Mathematics. Some videos from the challenge are available on Steve Bamford's Youtube Channel.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Planning your STEM integration at school

Are your thinking of getting started with STEM at your school?

If so, rather than jumping in and buying a whole lot of equipment, start a planning process to have a coherent strategy that you can take to your leadership and teachers to get them on board.

St Andrews Primary Marayong under the guidance of their technology coordinator Matt Haynes have developed a planning document that provides a continuum of STEM resources and how they might be integrated across each stage and across a 3 year period.  Links are also provided to support documents and lesson ideas for teachers.

Working with a small team of initially interested staff they then sought some advice about their strategy and elicited ideas around best ways to support teachers for the process and discussed initial ideas about curriculum integration.  Based on their strategy a number of STEM resources were purchased.

Involve the teachers
The next step St Andrews did was to present to staff.  "After running through a Keynote and discussing the importance of STEM (also giving them a chance to list concerns), the staff had a huge unboxing and just over an hour of play.  The staff were really responsive and keen for some change. "

"The play really helped to settle any concerns and as a result all the staff are onboard for next year, with a lot of staff/grades already planning, and learning all about STEM during their RFF and in their own time. Some are teaching themselves coding (Scratch,, and developing units based around the 4 C's. There was a tonne of small talk about STEM and what they had found out on their own. 5 of the 7 grades chipped in and after discussion, a class set (15) of Blue-Bots and 3 good quality 3D printers are on order.  Teachers are also finding resources for their classes/grades and borrowing some of the grade resources purchased by us so they can teach themselves over the holidays. There is a really good buzz in the air".

Connections with curriculum
Their next step is to plan some professional learning around use, connection and integration with curriculum.
St Andrews recognise that "PD will play a huge role in the successful implementation next year to ensure the move from transmission to transformational learning."

Click on the image below to access the full document

Techgirls using their coding powers for social good

Three of our Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta schools out of 75 entries were finalists in this years national 2016 Tech Girls Superhero Challenge .

NSW Winner: Nagle College, Blacktown
Runners Up: Our Lady of Nativity Lawson ( Primary) ; St Patrick’s Dundas ( secondary)

The TechGirls challenge is for female students in years 4-12. Teams consisting of 3 to 5 young women identify a problem, create an app to solve it, code the app, build a company to launch the app in the market, and pitch their plan to experts­­ all in 3 months. 

This project­ based computer science and entrepreneurship curriculum reinforces digital representation of information, algorithmic thinking and programming, and emphasises the societal impact of information and information technology. It teaches girls life skills such as how to identify problems, design and test solutions, collaborate in a team and communicate to different audiences.

The 2016 theme for the challenge was:
Solve a problem in your local community: technology for social good. 

Nagle College Blacktown pitched and created a prototype App called 'Amuse' to reduce stress for teenagers.  See their pitch video here.

Our Lady of Nativity Lawson pitched and created a prototype App called Mountains Adventurer to help families and children find things to do in the Blue Mountains. See their pitch video here.

St Patricks Dundas Marist pitched and created a prototype App called Appletic to help sports team manage participants and interact and check details with each other.  See their pitch video here.

To get involved, teams registered for the Next Tech Girl Superhero and submitted a pitch (through video) and other deliverables. After this, teams chose to enter the global 2016 Technovation competition to pitch against others internationally. School girls will learn skills to be a tech entrepreneur by working through set tasks to build an app. All teams are matched with a mentor.

Read all about the Finalists, runners up and special mentions here