The next stage of the Cherokee Nation digital exchange project (see posts below for progress so far) is for MA students from University of Brighton, the two participating Brighton Schools (Blatchington Mill School and Cardinal Newman Catholic School), the Cherokee Nation schools (Fort Gibson Public Schools and Maryetta Public School), and Same Sky to co-produce some digital art and display this at the Brighton Festival Children’s Parade in May 2013 that Same Sky organise..
This is thanks to having obtained some CUPP (Community University Partnership Programme) funding which will enable Digital Arts MA students from the University of Brighton to work with Wired Sussex, Same Sky and the Brighton schools to expand the project. The partners will be working with the school students to create a piece of collaborative art which will be paraded through Brighton where the theme of the children’s parade this year is the Alphabet. The children will be using the Cherokee Syllabary as inspiration to ultimately produce a shared piece of artwork for the wider community to engage with.
To this end the MA students will provide direct support to pupils and teachers as part of an existing course module in social media ‘Virtual Culture & Network Practices’. They would link with Same Sky who would offer the support of artists and access to bespoke workshops for the schools. A wider aim is to develop links beneficial to Same Sky that will help them include use of digital media into the workshops they offer.
The University of Brighton will help guide the school students and teachers in the use of digital media in subject areas outside of ICT. It will also provide new opportunities for schools and the University to work together and learn how technology can be effectively used in the classroom to generate creative learning practices.
We had a fantastic trip to the Brighton & Hove Albion AMEX stadium on Thursday 15th November 2012 as part of the Cherokee Nation Project. We had 33 year 8′s from Blatchington Mill School many of whom had taken part in the launch event in September. The Cardinal Newman students are having a separate visit as the numbers would have been too large for both schools together.
We split into two groups: one group went on a stadium tour to collect photographs on 10 ipads to create short films. The remaining 15 students Skyped 15 Maryetta students using 3 iPads in groups of 5. Similarly, the Maryetta kids had 3 MacBooks with 5 children around each. Each Maryetta student had prepared two questions to ask the Blatch kids and we let them loose! It’s probably fair to say they loved it – the number of kids meant there were no awkward silences and they would have gone on for longer than the 15 minutes we allowed if they could have. The portability of iPads allowed the kids to show off the football pitch and the stadium out of the window and for them all to have a chance to show their faces.
We had intended to use FaceTime instead of Skype but this required having an iTunes ID (need to set up with a credit card) for each MacBook and iPad which Maryetta didn’t have. The Albion iPads did as they use FaceTime a lot. But Skype was fine on both sides of the Atlantic and worked without any technical hitches.
After the Skype session that group had a slightly shorter tour and collected photos for the short films, again on 10 iPads.
The two groups came back together to make the films using iMovie (which the teachers had been trained in at the Albion training session on 25 Oct) which they found very easy to use. They added voiceovers, titles and music and then they showed their movies to each other. It was easy for them to share the 20 iPads between 33 students as they had been working collaboratively anyway to take the photos and ensure everyone was included. The films are being uploaded to the Albion secure YouTube channel and I’ll upload them to Edmodo (the platform we are using to communicate between kids and teachers) as well to share with the Cherokee schools.
To keep the momentum going with the Skyping and to allow the other group to participate we are trying to arrange for Blatch to use the end of their Wednesday ICT lesson (between 2-3pm) to Skype from school hopefully every week. This is being facilitated with Maryetta.
A digital cultural exchange between school students in Brighton, UK and Cherokee school students in Oklahoma, USA.
In the first blog post in December 2011, Phil Jones wrote: ‘This project aims to use digital media to significantly enhance the way that existing cultural exchange programmes between schools are run. The idea is to test and develop ways of using technology to encourage school students from different cultural and historical backgrounds to engage in real time interaction, to co-create content and to use visual and story-telling media, enabling them to build strong relationships through a mutual understanding and knowledge of each other.’
Since then, we’ve had a new school sign up from the Cherokee Nation – here’s a reminder of who’s taking part:
US – Fort Gibson Public Schools http://www.ftgibson.k12.ok.us/ and Maryetta Public Schools http://www.maryetta.k12.ok.us/ Another school, Sequoyah, http://sequoyah.cherokee.org/ a small school which is one of the only ones that teaches students in the Cherokee language is taking part through an after school club.
One of the first things we decided was that we needed time to discuss the project with teachers across the continents, get them talking to each other, find out what technology they were using already and to try to set a framework for the curriculum. We also needed to agree how many students would take part to start with and identify classes and teachers. We didn’t want to be too prescriptive with the curriculum as we really wanted the kids to take hold of the project when it started and to help drive what they would be doing in the lessons set aside for the project. One of the things the Cherokee side wanted from the project was to identify possible teachers of the future to help keep Cherokee tradition and language alive and that came into the mix as well.
It’s all about a digital cultural exchange, and those three words are what sums the whole thing up and it’s important to keep all those things in mind (at the same time!)… we wanted the kids to reflect on their own culture and lives and then think about how they could communicate that to people they might never meet (although more of that later)… and the tools they might use to do that. One thing that needs to be done is to find out what devices and technologies the kids already use and know, make use of them and introduce new technologies to them through the curriculum.
Although the first phase of this year-long project from April- August 2012 has been mostly to set things up, the Brighton schools have had some preparatory lessons in June and July. Year 7 English language pupils at Blatchington Mill have been studying some background about the Cherokee Nation using materials supplied by the Cherokee Nation Foundation, http://www.cherokeenationfoundation.org/new/ a charity that supports the education of Cherokee students. They were introduced to the beautiful Cherokee language syllabary and to recordings of traditional Cherokee lullabies and then spent time reflecting on Brighton and their own lives. Then, and here’s the exciting bit, they made short films in small groups to introduce themselves and Brighton to their Cherokee counterparts. They used Movie Maker to do this, which was new to the teachers.
Year 7 History students at Cardinal Newman school had similar preparatory lessons and also produced materials to share with the Cherokee children. They used various technology including Powerpoint (it’s a start) and Movie Maker.
A highlight of the project so far is undoubtedly the visit to Brighton in July 2012 of Andrew Sikora, the US project manager and a star Cherokee student, Corey Still, in July 2012. Corey is currently studying at the University of Oklahoma and is a great ambassador for the Cherokee Nation. He was in the UK to take part in an event with the UK government to celebrate the 250th year anniversary of the “Emissaries of Peace” Cherokee visit to the UK to see King George III in 1762. Fortunately for us, he had time to visit Brighton and we organized visits to both Blatch and Newman schools so Corey and Andrew could meet the pupils and teachers on the project. Corey was a real pro at talking with the kids and we had a Q&A session at both schools as well as meeting senior staff and being taken on a tour of each school.
To communicate across the pond we’ve been using Skype and Basecamp so far. We’ve had a number of conference calls using Skype and had an interesting time figuring out that you can’t do group calls using an iPad if you want visuals not just sound and that one person in the group needs Premium Skype in order for you to all see each other. All the teachers taking part in the project are signed up to Basecamp as well as other interested parties who want to contribute. Use has been patchy but is being revitalized particularly by Fort Gibson school’s teachers who are regular contributors. We’ve shared the initial materials the year 7s made through Blogger and we’re discussing what platform we might want to try out as well – one US schools uses Edmodo http://www.edmodo.com and we’re also talking about Posterous https://posterous.com which none of the schools have used before…
We’ve had a launch event but that’s the subject of another post… More later
Our first UnTeachMeet will be held at BACA* from 5.00 to 7.00 pm on the 21st June (follow link for address details). You may well be asking “what is an UnTeachMeet” – well, a TeachMeet follows certain rules which allow only teachers to present topics (follow links to our TeachMeet projects to get an idea). We thought it might be quite interesting for teachers if a few of our local businesses were able to do similar presentations, whilst at the same time, still being barred from making a hard sell. This would give the opportunity to see what educational projects are going on locally and possibly offer the opportunity for collaboration, prototyping, work experience etc.
To this end we are proud to present 9 talks – some from DEB members and some from other local establishments. It could well be an entertaining and useful session. If you are interested in coming along, there are still a few places left. Please contact Gill Ditch asap.
Here is a list of the presentations:
Maths Doctor – online maths tutorials
Retenda – Spaced Learning techniques to improve memory retention
Iris Connect – cpd through lesson observation and online community
Vital – professional development programme provided by the Open University
Iamcreative - opportunities for 13-19 year olds to work on live creative briefs from some top brands
Learnlocalfirst – citypedia of Brighton and Hove for and by KS£ students
Maker Fair – free interactive festival of creativity and invention
Locomatrix – developer of smartphone games using gps played outside, in the open air
Pling Toys – bringing objects to life
* Brighton Aldridge Community Academy
I remember my very first geography homework (even though the past is a foreign country). I had to draw a map of the street where I lived and the surrounding roads. This began a lifelong fascination with maps. But I am now imagining how geography would have been, if we had access to the internet (or even computers). In addition to the wealth of information out there, one has so many resources when you want to mess around with maps. In planning for the long walk, I have been looking at a very versatile system from ViewRanger. And it is looking as though this will be the main system that I will use:
- to prepare maps in advance of the walk (one had access to OpenStreetMap)
- to find my way using my mobile on route (it has an offline mode so you can still see maps when there is no mobile connectivity)
- to send info back to LocoHQ.
- to let others track where I am.
You can even embed the prepared maps onto sites, as the following shows (this is the last stage of the route which I hope some of you may join me on). If anyone is interested, we would be quite happy to talk to you about using maps, GPS and how they can be used in lessons. *
* Since writing this post, I have been thinking more about a short curriculum based around maps, GPS and mobile phones, and I think it would go something like this.
- A brief history of maps. Early times, Ordnance Survey, maps on the internet – Google, Google Earth, Bing. Looking at things in 3D
- OpenStreetMap – what it is= the wiki of mapping, how it came about=crowd sourcing, things for free
- GPS, compasses – how they work, how they are used, SatNav, on mobiles, limitations=mapping indoors
- Where am I? Tracking me – threats and opportunities. 4Square and commercialisation
- Putting it all together for a long walk. Useful apps – ViewRanger + BuddyBeacon, GPS-Status
A collaboration between Sussex Uni and 3 Brighton Schools
The following is from a press release issued at the end of the project. See here too.
University of Sussex students are helping the next generation get to grips with vital computer programming skills in the classroom.
The students worked with teachers and secondary school pupils to develop games and learning resources that would inspire them to learn basic programming skills.
The collaboration, involving three Brighton schools and third-year undergraduates and Master’s students at Sussex, came about as a result of academic Dr Judith Good’s involvement with Digital Education Brighton, an organisation which aims to promote digital technology education through small projects.
The project was timely, as the computer science curriculum has been much in the news recently following government calls for an overhaul of computer science teaching and for teachers to place more emphasis on programming skills.
Programming skills are seen as key to the development of new technologies and companies such as Google, Sony and Electronic Arts have been campaigning for an improvement in the curriculum, as there is a shortage of programming knowledge.
Dr Good, who lectures in Informatics at the University of Sussex, and students on her Technology Enhanced Learning Environments course have been considering the challenges involved in teaching programming.
Dr Good says: “We know from research and experience that programming is difficult – those that ‘get it’ really fly, but many students do badly and tend to drop out of their computer science courses. So there is the problem of how to teach a difficult subject. And then there is the added problem of motivation. Programming is not often seen as a very attractive topic of study, particularly by females.”
To address these issues, Dr Good’s students joined pupils at Dorothy Stringer and Blatchington Mill secondary schools, where computer programming is already taught, to find out what approaches teachers found useful in their classes, and which aspects of the subject motivated their pupils to perform better, They also partnered with the Self Managed Learning College in Brighton, where some students had expressed a desire to learn programming.
The students found that one of the biggest challenges for teachers was having to teach classes of widely varying abilities. Teachers asked for support to teach some of the basic concepts to struggling students. Other teachers wanted to cover more than just programming (i.e. writing the computer code) and look instead at software design, particularly at how to design software with users in mind.
The students also talked to school pupils to find out what might inspire them to learn about computing. The students then developed a range of teaching software packages that met the needs of the teachers and motivated students to engage with programming.
One such package, for example, allows pupils to design a game in which players are responsible for getting multiple aircraft to their destinations. There are trade-offs to be made depending on factors such as the number of passengers, or the amount of fuel to complete a successful flight, all of which involves some basic programming.
Dr Good says: “It’s a win-win approach. My students are developing software and resources for existing languages and basic programming concepts that teachers can take away and use in class. And for the students it was a great learning experience as they got to work on a real-world, topical project.”
It is hoped that the teaching packages will eventually be made available to more schools.
Writing this here as a way to start some serious planning for the tour. By imagining how a day might pan out, I can start to think of the things that I will need, plus it will also be useful for anyone interest in accompanying me on a stage (none of the following is cast in stone so it is just a suggestion based on a bit of map work).
Sunday 26th August - Start of stage 9 – Warwick to Stratford 11 miles
One of the shortest walks of the trip – well short of the normal 15 miles. We had our rest day in Warwick yesterday and said farewell to X who accompanied me from Abbots Bromley. And we now welcome Y who will be with me on the 4 days to Woodstock in Oxfordshire.
In time-honoured fashion we begin the day with green tea and our SmartSword exercises at around 6:30. The first part of the walk begins at 7:00 after a short video blog (watch it here). Don’t forget you can follow our progress by looking at live tracking on our blog pages.
Our delightful travelling hotel “4TVan” takes us to the start of the walk which is a couple of miles to the west of Warwick to join the point where we left Shakespeare’s Way on Friday. From there it’s around 4 miles to Hampton Wood where we will be rendezvousing with 4tVan for breakfast at 8:30.
We then make our way following the course of the Avon to Stratford (eta 12:00) where we will head directly to our gaming venue at the Stratford Sports Club. Today we will be playing Detect-o-saurus, our dinosaur hunting game, as well as a spot of toy hacking, Mission Explore, and spreading the word about DEB. Of course, this is preceded by a spot of lunch assuming Driver D has stocked up with provisions.
Our stop-over point is near the Dirty Duck and once again, after our supper, we invite other musicians to join us in an hour of songs and, maybe, Shakespeare. We will set off directly from here tomorrow when we will be stopping at Shipston (or shipping at Stopson.
If you missed the TeachMeet, here’s a chance to see recordings made on the day. Thanks to Iris Connect
Here’s where we have been doing this month
- Travel for Moira to and from Scotland (for the cycling leg)
- Booking of accommodation for the cycling leg (still some to do)
- Identification of all other accommodation for cycling leg
- Preparation of maps (this is an ongoing process – currently preparing better quality OS maps with elevation data – showing participants just how hilly certain bits are)
- Interview and rejection of tech support person
- Building up a list of potential road managers (2 so far)
- Viewing of support vehicle. Have gone off the idea of the horse box. Liking the Swift Kontiki (see below).
Finally, we announce the first competition (finally and first? Finally because we have been talking about running one for a long time. First because we will run new ones from time to time, depending on how popular they become).
What you have to do: Mobile phones have sensors called accelerometers. There are normally 3 of these sensing motion in x, y and z axes. Amongst other things, these sensors will tell the phone to change the screen display depending on how you are looking at it (portrait or landscape) and they provide the input for several games (e.g. car racing, ball-tilt) where movement of the device controls direction and/or speed.
There could be many more uses for these sensors than I have currently seen. They could be used in applications for training of anything where particular hand movements are required (think sign language, swimming and other sports, or performing a task like changing the wheel on a car). What I want you to do is to create a program that
- allows you to record a set of hand movements
- lets you playback those movements in a meaningful, visual way
- test another person repeating the movement and
- give them a score for accuracy.
- open to all school students
- send email to DEB registering your
- your app can run on any smartphone or tablet e.g. Android, iPhone, iPad
- programming can be in any language
- prize – fame and your photo on this blog