The content descriptor being addressed is:
Examine the main components of common digital systems and how they may connect together to form networks to transmit data.
The elaborations provide the following information:
While the elaborations do break this down a lot more, it is still very open to interpretation. Getting Year 5 students to describe the process in Laymen's Terms didn't seem ambitious enough. Why not dive a little deeper? It seems reasonable to at least mention it........right?
Sometimes teaching is like performing a dance...
The fact is that not all concepts are the most engaging or to easy to communicate. It can be a little like performing a complex dance in front of a panel of hyper-critical adjudicators. Stumble...and you lose them. Dazzle them...and they won't take their eyes off you. The difference here was that instead of performing a dance I was trying to explain a very abstract concept in a simple way.
And so it began....I opened by stretching out the acronym, sashayed into examples of common letters and symbols, pirouetted around the involvement of the CPU, pliéed into the role of binary before ending with a bow and an example of data transfer in pixel maps.
At this point I luckily had some "ah-ha" moments in the audience because it connected with our previous data transference lesson.
I took a breath.....not a total flop.
Having some fun with it: ASCII to Binary Chinese Whispers
The keyboard decided on a letter which they sent to the CPU in ASCII. The CPU used an ASCII to Binary converter to produce a Binary Code which they then passed to the Software. The software created a pixel map of the letter before passing it to the monitor to hold up for the keyboard to confirm on the other side of the classroom with a thumbs up.
After the first round, it became a little bit competitive and the teams wanted to then race each other. It turned out to be a good brain break and provided the children with a more physical representation of the process.
What do you think? Should kids in Primary School be learning about ASCII? How deep do we go? Leave me a comment! I'd love to hear what others think.
Powerful learning environments occur when three key elements connect: effective teachers, engaged learners and meaningful content. I have created the picture below to visualise this thinking.
In my opinion, the adjectives are important here. A powerful learning environment doesn't just happen when you throw together teachers, learners and content in a blender. The creation of a powerful learning environment relies heavily on the individual qualities of these elements.
There is so much evidence and research which proves that great teachers get great results. I like to think of teachers as "master learners" and in being these masters, exhibit all the characteristics of what makes a great learner. Effective teachers are mindful about the needs of their students. They are constantly innovating, reflecting and seeking to improve their practice.
While student engagement is influenced by many external factors and systems such as environment, biology, content and teacher effectiveness, there is a certain internal engagement factor that each student has. An engaged child is more receptive to content and instruction and so this contributes to a powerful learning environment.
Back in my schooling years, I remember sitting in my childhood classroom thinking "when will I ever use this?" There are still children thinking the same thing. Designing authentic and deep learning opportunities are more common these days. And while higher bodies dictate curriculum outcomes, making the delivery and application of content meaningful is something we can influence - and in doing so make it more powerful. Being clear about the skills and knowledge being developed with students can help them to see value in a lesson.
Data Transmission: Using the Collaboration Space in OneNote Class Notebook to teach children about how computers transmit data to peripherals
Over the last few weeks, I have been working with Year 4 and 5 students to develop their knowledge on hardware, software and peripheral devices. Last week we cracked open an old desktop computer to explore its internal components. Most found this very interesting.
This week I wanted to explore how a digital system communicates with a peripheral device (such as a printer). We started discussing binary and how 1's and 0's represent on and off electrical states. Australian National Curriculum in upper primary requires only a rudimentary understanding of binary, so to help demonstrate this process we completed the following activity using the Collaboration Space in our OneNote Class Notebook.
Students worked in teams. Half of the team pretended to be a "computer" with a picture to send to the other half of the team who were the "printer". The computers recorded the picture in the Collaboration Space as 1's and 0's. The printing team interpreted the code and recreated the picture on the other side of the room using a laminated grid and cards. Both parts of the team took a photograph of their image to check their work.
I found this worked really well and promoted a good conversation about data transmission.
I was flattered to be invited to return to ISQ recently to speak about my experiences in Action Research. Last year, along with two of my colleagues, I conducted an inquiry into how to best leverage 1:1 devices in upper primary classrooms and investigate the impact they had on pedagogical approaches and outcomes.
The Action Research process is flexible, but in order to maintain momentum, researches need to commit to the ongoing process. Here are my tips to getting the most out of research projects in schools:
Have you done any research projects in your school? Share your experiences below! Feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss conducting research in schools.
Read all about my thoughts on teaching in the 21st Century, my experiences with technology in the classroom, running a Maker Space, launching STEAM and Design Thinking with students, coding, robotics and much more!
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