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658 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 946464 6-Dec-2013 11:11
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freitasm: Attended a potluck dinner at Bella's school today and saw some interesting magazines in the staff room...


In recent times I've wondered about the true effectiveness of applying gamification techniques/principles to learning. Which, rightly or wrongly, seems to be a lead many education professionals are following - doing the dopamine thing. It works for the video game industry, so why not for education?

Do kids really learn if educational content is delivered as a "fun" (subjectively speaking) activity?

From personal experience, when Mathletics was introduced it did improve basic numeracy (addition/substraction) with a few of the senior primary kids - which is a good thing. However, they seemed to be "stuck" at that basic level. Possibly, because the global recognition system only catered for very basic numeracy at the time.
Mathletics is actually quite a helpful learning tool. But, only if you continue with the other more advanced threads, and have a parent/tutor who can guide you through them (note: unfortunately, no the teachers weren't much help at all beyond basic numeracy; not a dig - just saying in case people were wondering).
Interestingly, one of the basic numeracy champions was/is also an avid gamer.

I still believe that interactive CBT learning can be effective if implemented well ($64,000,000 question). It depends greatly on the content, delivery, and support of the learning in question. I thought the younger aged Reader Rabbit games were awesome. The sad thing is, beyond a fairly rudimentary level there are very few (if any) games with the same effectiveness.

Unashamed Plug: I can recommend Spacechem for chemistry. DragonBox gets good write ups for basic algebra.

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  Reply # 946542 6-Dec-2013 12:50
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zaptor: 

Fascinating.

AS91639 looks the most interesting. You actually teach that level in your school? If so, that's not too shabby for college level. I take it the lean is towards embedded systems (programming microcontrollers?).
What kind of hardware is being used, and do you know what communications protocols the students are attempting to implement?

A few of those standards look respectable. Level 1 looked okay as well.

Do you teach your students the entire curriculum or just selected portions of it?

On the programming side what concepts/fundamentals do you start at with your students? (i.e. do they require any understanding of the underlying hardware/computer organisation, electrical theory, computing abstractions - eg. primer on how computers work)


It is up to the school/department as to what standards they teach - each standard has between 3 and 6 credits and generally you would try and do 3 credits in 6 or so weeks (maybe more, depends on the level of the class)

I lean towards the media and programming standards so teach HTML, CSS, SQL, PHP, JAVA, JAVASCRIPT, as well as all the planning and file management skills.
Then you have the external standards which are sent to Wellington to be marked - meaning every school doing that standard is graded by the same team of markers - these have (at least the computer science one I do) usabiltiy, algorithms, programming, binary encoding, encryption, compression, etc 


Think of it like how when you are picking schools and you hear school A has a great art department and school B has great sports teams - Some schools will have technology teachers who teach standards you like the look of - others will have people who are struggling or not resourced enough to provide the level of teaching or the standards that you might like

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 946608 6-Dec-2013 14:32
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StarBlazer:

I won't make that mistake next year...


https://www.khanacademy.org/

658 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 946655 6-Dec-2013 15:57
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Dav4122:
It is up to the school/department as to what standards they teach - each standard has between 3 and 6 credits and generally you would try and do 3 credits in 6 or so weeks (maybe more, depends on the level of the class)

Ah, that probably explains the situation at our local college. It appears they only do internals, and lean towards the lighter (non-hardware/non-electronic focused) standards.

Dav4122:
I lean towards the media and programming standards so teach HTML, CSS, SQL, PHP, JAVA, JAVASCRIPT, as well as all the planning and file management skills.
Then you have the external standards which are sent to Wellington to be marked - meaning every school doing that standard is graded by the same team of markers - these have (at least the computer science one I do) usabiltiy, algorithms, programming, binary encoding, encryption, compression, etc


I take it the externals are the more difficult standards?
Which seems to make a mockery of the subject, since there doesn't seem to be way of differentiating the quality of digitech standards being achieved (please correct me if I'm wrong). I know, it's NCEA, and that's just how it works. It's still stupid.
If you get Level 3 Physics/Chemistry, English, Calculus etc that usually means one is actually good at those subjects. Of course it helps that most of those credits are external.

Dav4122:
Think of it like how when you are picking schools and you hear school A has a great art department and school B has great sports teams - Some schools will have technology teachers who teach standards you like the look of - others will have people who are struggling or not resourced enough to provide the level of teaching or the standards that you might like

I think with our local college it's basically the lack of subject matter proficiency. Non-personnel resourcing certainly isn't an issue.

The IT dept has a bad rep simply because the expertise isn't there - with one exception. So, unfortunately, it's seen as an "easy" credit subject (which in our case it is). Naturally, it tends to attract students from the middle to low end academically. Which only compounds the problem because of issues with teaching to the lowest common denominator.
Suffice it to say, those sorts of issues aren't really manifest in Calculus, Physics, English etc.

So, perhaps the issue - in relation to CS in schools - isn't that high curriculum standards don't exist. They clearly do from what I've seen. It's that they aren't required/taught. Which I guess brings us back to the issue of subject matter proficiency. It's unreasonable to expect teachers to teach something they themselves don't understand. Then again, if you have the expertise to teach those Level 3 externals (especially if you can teach them well), you have to decide whether it's really worth teaching CS or doing what most people with those skill sets do (for at least double the money).

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 946751 6-Dec-2013 19:55
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zaptor:
Dav4122:
It is up to the school/department as to what standards they teach - each standard has between 3 and 6 credits and generally you would try and do 3 credits in 6 or so weeks (maybe more, depends on the level of the class)

Ah, that probably explains the situation at our local college. It appears they only do internals, and lean towards the lighter (non-hardware/non-electronic focused) standards.

Dav4122:
I lean towards the media and programming standards so teach HTML, CSS, SQL, PHP, JAVA, JAVASCRIPT, as well as all the planning and file management skills.
Then you have the external standards which are sent to Wellington to be marked - meaning every school doing that standard is graded by the same team of markers - these have (at least the computer science one I do) usabiltiy, algorithms, programming, binary encoding, encryption, compression, etc


I take it the externals are the more difficult standards?
Which seems to make a mockery of the subject, since there doesn't seem to be way of differentiating the quality of digitech standards being achieved (please correct me if I'm wrong). I know, it's NCEA, and that's just how it works. It's still stupid.
If you get Level 3 Physics/Chemistry, English, Calculus etc that usually means one is actually good at those subjects. Of course it helps that most of those credits are external.

Dav4122:
Think of it like how when you are picking schools and you hear school A has a great art department and school B has great sports teams - Some schools will have technology teachers who teach standards you like the look of - others will have people who are struggling or not resourced enough to provide the level of teaching or the standards that you might like

I think with our local college it's basically the lack of subject matter proficiency. Non-personnel resourcing certainly isn't an issue.

The IT dept has a bad rep simply because the expertise isn't there - with one exception. So, unfortunately, it's seen as an "easy" credit subject (which in our case it is). Naturally, it tends to attract students from the middle to low end academically. Which only compounds the problem because of issues with teaching to the lowest common denominator.
Suffice it to say, those sorts of issues aren't really manifest in Calculus, Physics, English etc.

So, perhaps the issue - in relation to CS in schools - isn't that high curriculum standards don't exist. They clearly do from what I've seen. It's that they aren't required/taught. Which I guess brings us back to the issue of subject matter proficiency. It's unreasonable to expect teachers to teach something they themselves don't understand. Then again, if you have the expertise to teach those Level 3 externals (especially if you can teach them well), you have to decide whether it's really worth teaching CS or doing what most people with those skill sets do (for at least double the money).


That's not quite right.

All subjects (as far as I am aware) have a mixture of internal and external subjects which the teacher can select from based upon the students ability/interests.  Externals tend to be more difficult, but that is normally because they are under test conditions, involve a fair amount of literacy and there is no option to resubmit 

For a student to gain endorsement in a subject they need to have at least 3 credits (normally one standard) as an external.

For those shaking their heads as to how NCEA works think about university, where a standard is like a paper.  If you are doing a BSc in chemistry you don't take every paper the uni offers in chemistry, you take the ones that interest/are useful to you, but you need to take a certain amount of papers at each level to get your qualification.

NCEA is similar in that a number of standards (papers) contribute to a qualification.  What one school (university) offers is not the same as another school even though the qualification (BSc) is the same.  If you were employing someone straight out of university you wouldn't assume that because they had the right qualification they have taken the right papers, just as if you are employing someone straight out of school it would be advisable to look at the standards that they have taken.

I hope this makes sense in a bit of a rush. 


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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 946871 7-Dec-2013 00:51
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blackjack17:
zaptor: 

If you get Level 3 Physics/Chemistry, English, Calculus etc that usually means one is actually good at those subjects. Of course it helps that most of those credits are external.


That's not quite right.

All subjects (as far as I am aware) have a mixture of internal and external subjects which the teacher can select from based upon the students ability/interests.


Hmmm... using Chemistry as an example, AFAIK there were 22 credits available to NCEA level 3 this year. 7 of those were internal, the rest (15) were external. So, in this instance I would say two thirds of the available credits is "most".

blackjack17: 
Externals tend to be more difficult, but that is normally because they are under test conditions, involve a fair amount of literacy...


I'm not a big fan of standardised end-of-year type exams because of how they're structured. I agree (the current implementation of) official exam conditions doesn't make them any easier. Myself, I prefer open book testing - implemented correctly.
However, I think the literacy aspect is very important. I realize word problems can be a stumbling block - particularly for boys. So, if literacy was so important one wonders why there isn't more focus on improving it?

blackjack17: 
... and there is no option to resubmit 


Yes. Re-submission. A somewhat interesting form of achievement. Perhaps the theory behind it is sound. Seems a little dodgy in practice.

blackjack17: 
For those shaking their heads as to how NCEA works think about university, where a standard is like a paper.  If you are doing a BSc in chemistry you don't take every paper the uni offers in chemistry, you take the ones that interest/are useful to you, but you need to take a certain amount of papers at each level to get your qualification.


Okay, that makes sense. I think perhaps the issue is the quality of the standard.
Chatting with someone who has just finished the new NCEA level 3 sciences curriculum I've been informed it doesn't gloss over a larger number of subject threads (like it used too) - so I guess there is less choice. However, the smaller number are studied in greater depth - it's more difficult than the old curriculum.

blackjack17: 
NCEA is similar in that a number of standards (papers) contribute to a qualification.  What one school (university) offers is not the same as another school even though the qualification (BSc) is the same.  If you were employing someone straight out of university you wouldn't assume that because they had the right qualification they have taken the right papers, just as if you are employing someone straight out of school it would be advisable to look at the standards that they have taken.


I wonder if we simply offer to many subjects (with to many threads)?

My concern with trying to emulate a university type educational structure at college level is that it's not necessarily conducive to a supportive (teenage) learning environment.
University can be brutal. You're on your own basically. No one is going to hold your hand, get you to those lectures, or make you study. If you never achieved a respectable level of literacy in college, then you're going to be in for one bumpy ride - assuming you stay the course.
Instead of trying to copy the university model, perhaps we should use a college-specific model that has a stronger emphasis on pastoral responsibility?
I know you didn't mean this when making your analogy, but, you got me thinking. I have to admit, the college curriculums nowadays look like mini-polytech/university courses.

blackjack17: 
I hope this makes sense in a bit of a rush. 


Yes, thanks. Appreciate the response.


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  Reply # 946889 7-Dec-2013 07:18
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As other have said externals are generally harder because there is no option for resubmission ( having another got, with feed forward from the teacher ) but in some subjects art and technology come to mind the external is a portfolio of your work that is done over the year and sent away at the end.

The digital tech CS standard is 6 - 10 pages usually and the teacher can give a lot of support in talking about the problems that the student needs to answer. But all the typing and conclusions drawn must be the students typing and in the students own words. To stop copy paste issues.

If your external grades are the same or higher than the ones you teacher has given you you are "endorsed" as having that grade in that subject. This is supposed to be of benefit to the student but is more to show that the teacher/school isn't being soft on the marking to raise class or school statistics.

Resubmission seems very different between subjects. In Math, (from the math teachers I work with) and assessment is give and that is the grade you get - done. In digital technologies (my subject area) the student takes the assessment (build a website, a database, connect them with php) and I grade it, give them feedback, and then give them another lesson or two to make any changes they can in that time to raise their grade. More marking for me, but closer to what would happen with a client or manager reviewing your work.



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  Reply # 947782 9-Dec-2013 08:45
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Ragnor:
StarBlazer:

I won't make that mistake next year...


https://www.khanacademy.org/

Thanks - that looks awesome.




Procrastination eventually pays off.


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  Reply # 948261 9-Dec-2013 18:51
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Maybe I'm turning from a bleeding-edge tech enthusiast to a luddite in my old age, but I'm not sure that I quite buy the arguments about the big gains from mandating tablets in schools.

I'm sure they are fun (at least initially) and help the school to market itself as modern.

However, for the young kids it's important that they learn reading, writing and basic math. Paper, a pencil and a investing in a good well-trained teacher with a whiteboard and who reads to them are probably more important than diverting funds into a whizzy bit of shiny technology with fun graphics. A well stocked library is pretty important as well.

When they get older the kids do need to learn how to use technology and use it to produce work. However, I suspect a laptop is probably a better buy. Not as "cool", but unlike tablets which are primarily interactive media-consumption devices, a laptop is probably a far better option for actually doing work than a tablet is - and possibly less expensive as well. Given a choice between a laptop with a wordprocessor and keyboard etc or a tablet, I know what I would far rather produce (say) a 1,500 word essay on.

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  Reply # 948290 9-Dec-2013 20:45
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The tablet could replace a lot of gear.
If you could get all the kid's books on them they'd be great! Dictionary, thesaurus, calculator, timer, guitar tuner, calendar, spelling and maths workbook etc. More and more texts are coming with a digital copy and in the US publishers seem to be aiming at multimedia texts. All that plus the net for research. Yeah I can see how great that would be for a student and that's not even looking at content creation.

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  Reply # 948299 9-Dec-2013 21:09
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JimmyH: Given a choice between a laptop with a wordprocessor and keyboard etc or a tablet, I know what I would far rather produce (say) a 1,500 word essay on.


Noone's suggesting that they do, that's why there are computers in the classroom.

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  Reply # 948790 10-Dec-2013 15:55
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StarBlazer:
Ragnor:
StarBlazer:

I won't make that mistake next year...


https://www.khanacademy.org/


Thanks - that looks awesome.


Yeah it's amazing, revolutionary even.. inverting the teaching process

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gM95HHI4gLk


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