Friday, 26 April 2013

Hex and RGB Colour Codes Poster

Here is the 3rd in a series of Computer Science posters. The aim is that over the coming weeks and months the collection will grow so that there is a poster to cover all elements of the OCR GCSE Computing syllabus.

If you end up using this poster in your school, I’d love to hear about it or see a photo.

Here are the existing posters mapped against the OCR syllabus:
2.1.4 Representation of Data in Computer Systems
c Convert denary into binary and visa versa #1 Binary
d Add two 8-bit integers and explain overflow errors which may occur #4 Adding Binary
e Convert hexadeciaml numbers in to denary numbers #2 Hexadecimall
#3 Hex Colour Codes
f Convert between binary and hexadecimal equivalents of the same number #5 HexBin Convert
g Explain the use of hexadecimal numbers #3 Hex Colour Codes

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Win, Lose or Draw

An Introduction to the CPU - as a Literacy and Drawing Activity!
Here's an interesting introduction to the Central Processing Unit (CPU). The activity started as an attempt to promote literacy in ICT through a targeted DART (Directed Activity Related to Text) activity. It does just that through the use of skimming, scanning and gap fill strategies. Whilst working on this, however, I was listening to the @teknoteacher and @vikkiville podcast in which they talked about Draw Your Learning activities. This inspired me to develop the idea further and Win, Lose or Draw was the result. Take a look and let me know what you think.


Download the Powerpoint file here

Sunday, 21 April 2013

~meld#3 - - Hexadecimal Colour Codes

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Low Cost but Effective Posters - a "How to . . ."

Here's a great way to get started on filling your classroom with informative and impressive poster displays. It takes just a few minutes work and most of it can be done by the reprographics department. Here's what to do:

1. Download the first two in my series of posters designed for the OCR GCSE Computer Science syllabus. Other posters in the series will follow in the coming weeks and months, so keep checking back.

Poster 1: Binary

Poster 2: Hexadecimal

2. Set up an A0-sized page in Publisher and print. I print it straight to the colour photocopier in resources where it comes out on 4 x A3 pages. These are then laminated.

3. Trim a few of the inside edges with scissors and then sellotape together.

4. Blue-tack to the wall, stand back and admire.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Understanding Hexadecimal

Further to my previous post on the CLAWS T&L model, here is another set of resources suitable for using with the model.

See the audioboo in the previous post

Download worksheet


See the above worksheet

The CLAWS process  is a linear one and is described in the table below:

Consider >Listen >Answer >Watch >Share >
Students are set a homework which they consider, as directed by the teacherStudents return to class and listen to a short podcast on the subjectWorking individually, students answerworksheet questionsStudents watch a video version of the podcast they listened to earlierStudents share their answers and discuss the issue raised in the worksheet

With the CLAWS process in mind I have developed a set of resources on the topic of Binary

~meld#2 - - Hexadecimal

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

CLAWS Teaching and Learning Model

During my work as a Head of ICT and Business Studies at Esher High School over the past year or so, the importance of two things has become increasingly clear to me:

1. Students enjoy homework!
Maybe I should rephrase this and state that students enjoy the right
kind of homework. They enjoy homework that they see as having value, and for which they are accountable. Homework is an essential element of the teaching and learning process.

2. Students can be sociable!
Yes, we know that given the opportunity, students will socialise rather than work in lessons—it’s not cool to do otherwise. That stated, given the right environment, they really enjoy working in a collaborative and practical way in lessons, much more than they enjoy being lectured to by their teacher.

I am acutely aware of these two points today, just as I was a decade or more go. So what has changed? Well, quite simply, I began reading about the Flipped Classroom model of teaching. You know, the one where the students watch videos at home and then the teachers sit back and watch the students in class? This is the negative view of the model, of course. However, I am not writing this post in support of the Flipped Classroom model, but as a description of how it led progressively to the development of what I am now calling the CLAWS Teaching and Learning model.

CLAWS is an acronym, short for:

The CLAWS process  is a linear one and is described in the table below:

Consider > Listen > Answer > Watch > Share >
Students are set a homework which they consider, as directed by the teacher Students return to class and listen to a short podcast on the subject Working individually, students answer worksheet questions Students watch a video version of the podcast they listened to earlier Students share their answers and discuss the issue raised in the worksheet
At home, students research the topic of binary using books, websites, VLE quizzes, YouTube links etc
In class, students listen to the 60 second AudioBoo Podcast on binary (link below)
Class answers the questions on the binary worksheet (link below)
Class watches the 1 minute video on binary (see link below)
Discussion followed by Q+A session (see worksheet)

With the CLAWS process in mind I have developed a set of resources on the topic of Binary. The location of these resources is detailed at the foot of this post. I have tried to ensure that:

1. Students enjoy homework!
The homework that is set is seen as having value, and students are accountable for it. They quickly learn that will not do very well in the Answer component if they fail to do their homework.

2. Students can are sociable!
As most of the more theoretical aspects of the syllabus are covered with the CLAWS Teaching and Learning method, this leaves more time for practical activities in class. In my subject, Computer Science, we can do more programming. And that’s the bit we enjoy most!

~meld#1 - - Binary



~Share# - see the above worksheet

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Binary in a Scratch maths trick

Prepare to be amazed! Here is a great maths trick where we pick any number from 1 to 31 and the computer tells us the exact number we picked!

It turns out that this is a great way of taking what could be a difficult theory lesson on binary and turning it into something much more practical and interesting. In Scratch, pupils start by inputting code relating to the 5 numbered cards shown below:

When inputting the code and working through the accompanying worksheets, we notice that the numbers on the Fridge Magnets card (all the odd numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, to 31) all have a 1 in the ones place in the binary column. The numbers with a 1 in the twos place all appear on the Road Signs card. And the numbers with a 1 in the fours place appear on the Birthday Badges card. And so on.

There are patterns in how the 1s are spread out in each column. In the ones column they alternate 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, . . . In the twos column the pattern is 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, and so on. There are patterns in all the columns.

The trick works by effectively converting your decimal number in binary and then convering it back into decimal.

Let's say the decimal number 15 is selected. By telling us which of the 5 cards the number appears on we convert 15 into its binary equivalent (01111) We then convert it back into decimal by adding the binary column headers - in this case:
8 + 4 + 2 + 1 = 15.

Supporting Scratch files can be downloaded from the Computing at School website.

Open the worksheet in Google docs

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Variables in a Scratch Tennis Game

I was looking for a way to quickly deliver a Scratch lesson on variables and came up with this set of 4 videos which guide students through the creation of a simple pong-type game. The accompanying worksheet (with answers) allows for peer or self marking and will help reinforce the concept of variables.

Open the worksheet in Google Docs

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Step-by-step "Space Invaders" videos

The notion of flipped learning that I mentioned in my last post is something new to me and which I'm only just beginning to explore. It's certainly something that lies behind my motivation for creating these videos. I'm hoping to encourage students to access these resources independently so that in lessons we can take learning to much deeper level than would be possible without the videos.

Here we have a set of 6 step-by-step videos that guide the viewer through the creation of Defenders of Mars - a Space Invaders style game in Scratch. Feel free to use them and, please, let me know how you get on.

Step-by-step Pacman Videos

Here it is . . . My first ever blog post! I see this as the start of a project inspired by the Computing at School Community and teachers such as Mr Colley. What is the project? I'm not entirely sure at this point. What I do know, though, is that I want to explore the notion of flipped learning in my Computing lessons and that I want to freely share the creative results, the resources, that come from that exploration. We shall see where it leads . . .

My first resource is a set of 11 step-by-step videos that guide the viewer through the creation of the classic Pacman Arcade game. Please let me know if you find them useful.