“Notice and Name It” – ADST & Hour of Code

One of the most important foundations of ADST is Computational Thinking.  OK right now, you’re probably wanting to run away. You’re thinking who cares OR it doesn’t apply to me as I teach little folks. Well I’m here to say it does apply to you and everyone else living in this world. Let’s break this down to simpler speak. 

If you haven’t noticed, we’re in the most stormy month of the season – rain, lots of rain, high winds, whipping tree branches, tons of fallen leaves and flooded roads where you least expect them. The bell has just gone for Recess – yes we celebrate “West Coast Recess” so it’s time to get out and experience living in our temperate rain forest. Here goes the scenario as it’s played out in classrooms across our district. 

VIEW FROM A STUDENT: You know that you can’t leave the classroom without donning your boots and rain gear. Scramble to the cloakroom, grab your snack from the backpack, stick on a boot and race out!  Hold on, you’re pulled back by the teacher for missing items. Back to the cloakroom you go – precious minutes are ticking away.  You decide to dump the snack – you’re not starving (you surmise lunch is just around the corner).  You spy the soccer ball and pick it up. But your hands are full now and you can’t get on that jacket and boots – another problem! This is not going as planned.  New plan…down goes the soccer ball. On goes the jacket, off goes the shoes, on goes the boots (both ones this time and hopefully on the right foot) but perhaps not in that order. Grab the ball, then try again to get past the teacher.  Success! You’re finally outside with the wind at your face and friends waiting to create a new game. 

You’ve just experienced computational thinking, which involves the following characteristics:

  • Decomposition – breaking down the problem into tiny parts (eg. how to get on all the gear you need so you can get outside to play. Goal? Get outside [fast] to play.) 
  • Pattern recognition – notice patterns in the work or problem or see it from different angles (eg. shoes go off one foot at a time and boots go on one foot at a time; jackets usually go on one arm at a time; Can this be generalized anywhere else?) 
  • Abstraction – ignore the parts that are irrelevant or unnecessary (eg. your mom made you bring an umbrella – is it really necessary? Do you need to button up that jacket-maybe one will do? Do you really need that snack?)
  • Algorithm – create a bunch of steps to solve the problem or set of rules to follow (eg. first, then, next…) 

Like “Core Competencies“, which start with ‘notice and name it’, we do the same with ‘computational thinking’. We attach a name to the thinking process and procedure making them overtly recognizable so we can talk about them. Remember this is not a spelling lesson! Sharing this process with multiple examples goes a long way to including the heart of ADST.  If you’re interested in a poster outlining ‘computational thinking’, email us. 

*Oh by the way, you did decide on the snack after all. You stuffed it in your rain jacket pocket. 

Hour of Code

PSSST…. Do you know what’s just around the corner? 

Come join us as we celebrate and learn during the Hour of CodeDecember 4 – 10.  

What is it you ask? This is a worldwide effort to show that anyone can learn the basics of code with a series of one hour activities (both plugged and unplugged). Its focus is NOT to become a coder or programmer, but to nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. And most importantly when you include reflection, you’ve added communication to the process. Who wouldn’t want that! Just imagine all those opportunities to grow your neurons in a community.

There are entrances for every grade and every skillset – all you need to bring is a sense of curiosity. 

Here are some starting points: 

  • You can register your class here
  • Click here for activities from Hour of Code 
  • Did you gather supplies for your own ADST KITS from our list? It’s time to jumpstart them.
  • Did you purchase Spheros from us? Now’s the time to experiment and organize them in kits. **Need to purchase more? Contact us and we’ll magically appear with them. 
  • Interested in Scratch from MIT? 
  • Lots of resources here: CodeBC

Need more information? Ask any of our Learning Technologies Team.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing more information on how you can integrate ADST curricular and core competencies throughout your day/week. You can see all the posts under CONTENT > ADST. 

Updated Top 20 Apps for 2017

Finally rounding off our list of vetted “must have” TOP 20 APPS for 2017. While these are in no order, the apps can be categorized into two areas – student voice/design/creativity and productivity. Stay tuned for future posts on how you might use some of these apps. 

 Design –*Communication, Creative Competencies



 Pic Collage Kids (elementary), Pic Collage (secondary) (free) – Bring creative options to the forefront by layering your images with a variety of tools (draw, highlight, add multiple layers and stickers) to extend your story. Consider using this for Literature Circles or defending your research thesis.
 Productivity tool – workflow  app_documents  Documents (free) – My “can’t do without” app for downloading and saving music clips or other files for import to other apps. Now you know my secret for expanding multimedia options. Tell your story with umph! 
  Audio/Visual -*Communication Competencies app_telestory  Tellestory (free) – video creation using the augmented reality camera. Use the themes or choose your own to write and record your story. Sing in a band, report the news, float in outer space, add special effects and costumes. The app has face tracking to offset the costumes. Save to camera library and share. 
 Applied Design – 
*Communication, Critical, Creative Competencies
app_scratchjr  Scratch Junior (free) – Inspired by MIT’s Scratch, learn how to program an interactive story or game to solve problems or design projects. This is using coding to learn communication skills. Use the graphical programming blocks to snap together to make characters move.  
 Productivity tool – workflow  app_splice  Splice (free) – Video editor that adds pizzazz to your videos. Use to trim, adjust transitions, add slow motion effects to create the ultimate story.
  Design – 
*Personal, Creative Competencies
app_weemoji  WeeMoji ($3.99) – Create an avatar to personalize your story, your web presence or your presentations. Many options to bring your essence and bling to projects. Extend by adding voice. Elementary safe (for Secondary try Bitmoji). 
 Productivity – 
*Communication, Personal Competencies
 app_mstranslator  Microsoft Translator (free) – We have many students from many countries. Communication is challenging when there is no one in the room to translate. Translate text or speech (whew!) into other languages. Think of real-time conversation on the device or across devices. Best with single sentences.
 Audio –*Communication Competencies app_voicerecordpro  Voice Record Pro (free) – Professional voice recorder that uses visual feedback to show how loud your voice is recording. Possibilities for use might include supporting reading fluency,  self-assessment, speeches, radio show or embed in other videos. Save in standard formats. 
 Audio/Visual –*Communication Competencies app_chatterpix_kid  ChatterPix Kid (free) – Take a photo, draw a line to represent a mouth and record your voice. Teach a lesson, share a story,  sing a song, do a rap. You’re only limited by your imagination. Share it on your class blogs. Stitch a few videos together to make a longer video. Or keep to “shorts”. There’s something to be said for brevity (30 seconds or less).
  Audio/Visual –*Communication Competencies app_tellegamiedu  Tellagami-Edu ($6.99) – Create a custom avatar to share your story, lesson or learning. Includes backgrounds, draw your own or take a background picture. Products can be saved to the camera library. Great for oral language development and speeches, explaining processes (records up to 90 seconds). No in-app purchases needed. There is a free version that saves 30-second videos. (*Hint: use other apps to stitch the ‘shorts’ together.)
 Image Editor – *Communication, Creative Competencies  PicMonkey Photo Editing Effects ($2.79) – Our favourite web tool is now an app! Use it to resize your images before uploading, and edit using a range of effects. Personalize any image and use in your presentations, photo albums, eportfolios, posters, infographics. 
 Design/Draw –*Communication, Creative Competencies app_drawingpad  Drawing Pad ($2.79) – Everyone needs an art/sketch app to give possibility to your creative self. Use photo-realistic crayons, markers, paint brushes, coloured pencils, stickers, roller pens. An entire box of tools is at your finger tips. Products are saved in the camera library for export or upload. Use to enhance artistic voice, upload to eportfolios or blogs, presentations or smash with other apps like ChatterPix, Pic Collage Kid and WeeMoji.
 Design/Draw –*Communication, Creative Competencies app_paper   Paper by FiftyThree (free) – Sketch notes are all the rage now. This app gives freedom to design, take notes, create diagrams in detail. A stylus pen is helpful but not necessary. More complex than Drawing Pad. 
 Video –  *Communication, Creative Competencies adobesparkapp   Adobe Spark Video (free) – Create stunning videos with voice, music and images. Add cinematographic motion and share your product. Saves to camera library for easy export. As if this wasn’t enough, use this to illustrate ‘work flow’ in organization. *Requires a login account.
 Design/Video –  *Communication, Creative, Thinking Competencies app_greenscreen  Green Screen by Do Ink ($3.99) – Use any green coloured background and turn it into your own TV studio. Tell a story, teach an  idea, share your research, be a newscaster and include an interactive weather map or video behind you. Consider how this might access oral speech, critical thinking, sequencing, design, dramatic skills.
 Design/Video –  *Communication, Creative, Thinking Competencies app_explaineverything  Explain Everything 3.0 ($5.49) – “They know when they can teach it.” Communicate learning by screencasting and using an interactive whiteboard to annotate,  teach, narrate and animate. New feature – collaboration! Incorporate products from other apps. Export to/from anywhere, making this app incredibly flexible. 
 Design –  *Communication, Creative, Thinking, Personal Competencies app_bookcreator   Book Creator ($6.99) – Create stunning ebooks that can be saved, uploaded, or saved as pdf.  Incorporate images, video, audio, music, text. Import your ChatterPix, Tellagami, or Explain Everything files. Turn the pages like a book and see the magic unfold before you. A great tool for a portfolio presentation.
 Productivity tool – workflow app_compressor  Compressor (free) – While using the video camera on an iPad is great, what happens if you want to upload the results to a blog, eportfolio or other web presence? iPads are notorious for huge file sizes. This app compresses a video file size using a target slider – what could be easier? Saves to camera library ready for you to upload to any other site. 
 Video Editor – *Communication, Creative Competencies videoslimmer_ap  Video Slimmer ($3.99) – While there are many in this category, this one is worth the price if you use video a lot and would like to upload the results to a web presence (eg. from camera, iMovie, Adobe Spark, Book Creator …). Shrinks video files while keeping the quality. Simple editing tools include trim, merge multiple videos, rotate, and customise. Saves to camera library. 
Productivity plus –  *Communication, Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Personal Competencies  app_googledrive   Google Drive (free) – Still at the top of our “go to” list. This suite of tools include Docs, Slides, Drawing, Forms, Sheets allowing for writing, collaboration with teams any time, anywhere, commenting in real-time (*think formative assessment), an accurate speech-to-text synthesizer (imagine having those words magically appear on the page as you speak). The app version has word prediction. Contact your Learning Technologies team for more information. The educational suite is G Suite. (*To apply for a GSuite account > click FORMS. We do the rest to set up your classes. An authentic place to practice digital citizenship and collaborative communication!) 

We’d love to hear about your “Must Have” list. Drop an idea in the comment box.