RoboBricks are coming soon!

We are pleased to be working with RobotixEdu to bring this exiting technology to schools. We believe that screen free programming is a vital element to enhance understanding for young people. Robobricks is programmed using the RobotixEdu wand. The specially manufactured building bricks include motors, LEDs and sensors to easily bring a construction to life. Being able to use a variety of bricks means that children can really be creative when they are building things. Please contact us for more information and watch out for the launch of Robobricks!

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Voice v Keyboard input

VoiceActivatedIn 2004 I argued that we should be focussing on the spoken word as a way to communicate with computers. I took this position because at the time voice software was becoming particularly advanced and the need for a person to tap a keyboard was no longer the only way to input into the computer. I am thinking here of the likes of Dragon software and others like it. So if there was software around to take verbal input why would we need to teach our children how to “touch type”? What we needed to do was to make sure that our children could speak in a way that the computer could understand. Now the  speech to text phenomenon took a little time getting here and we are not yet there but we are much further down the road. Mobile uptake in the last 10 years has accelerated so much globally that the  use of phones to take care of elements of our daily lives has increased dramatically. I frequently use my Android phone to send messages using voice. The reason for this is that it is much more accurate than my large fingers on a small keyboard. I also see my grandchildren getting frustrated that Elexa is unable to understand the song they want to play because the are emerging speakers. I also watch them learn how to pronounce the words after an adult has helped them achieve the result they wanted to be able to become independent the next time. The introduction of assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home are testament to the massive research and development that are being given over to voice activation.

How should we then consider this technology in the classroom?

Does the fact that the technology is home based exclude it from the school?

How do we prepare our young people to interact with this technology?

Is there a need to teach our children how to speak so that they are able to access the technology they need through speech?

Mal Lee of Digital Evolution of Schooling shared an article recently about How speech recognition is set to disrupt. It is an interesting read with the point that “Voice has the potential to change the playing field just as much as mobile” If this is the case then what are the implications for the classroom?

Do we simply ignore the technology in school as is mostly the case with mobile technology?

Do we look at ways to better integrate speaking opportunities within the school curriculum?

Do we question our curriculum and ask is it really fit for purpose in the 21st Century?

I have been involved in teaching teachers how to use digital technology in the classroom for a long time. If history is anything to go by then those who see the importance of this disruptive technology will be early adopters and will begin to make a name for themselves within the area of “voice activated learning”. Then there will be others who will fight against the status quo, ( what ever that is) and provide a barrier to this new technology. What ever happens in the wider society, it would seem that in education circles the technology will only take off if there is absolute unanimous uptake and funding for training.

Don’t throw your keyboards out just yet!

Mobile Phones in the Classroom

June 21st 2018 “the Chief Inspector of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman supported schools who ban mobile phones.” The Headmaster of Eton “endorsed confiscating mobile phones.”

From an article on the Blog Safeguarding Essentials

The LSE study states “Our research shows that not only does pupil achievement improve as a result of a ban, but also that low ­achieving and low ­income pupils gain the most.”

 

Digital Teaching v Traditional Teaching

We all know that digital devices are ubiquitous not only in developed countries. Mobile are often a life line to farmers and fishing communities who need to get the best price for their goods. We also know that many adults in “developed” countries use their digital devices to:

  1. Entertain their children ( keep them quiet) by allowing them to watch films and animations etc.
  2. Allow their children to access inappropriate information because the parents are unaware of how to control the use.
  3. Access inappropriate content.
  4. Misuse social media outlets including bullying and sharing images and video
  5. Too much screen time effects children’s well being and mental health

In the latest Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report from Ofcom, findings suggest that almost a quarter of 8-11s and three-quarters of 12-15s have a social media profile. Their findings also concluded that one in eight 12-15s with a social media profile say there is pressure to look popular all of the time.

The popularity of social media combined with these risks and added to all the other stresses of growing up, it’s easy to understand how almost 1 in 4 children and young people show some evidence of mental ill health (including anxiety and depression), as reported by Young Minds.

(Safeguarding Essentials)

In schools though

“Digital learning is replacing traditional educational methods more and more each day. With how rapidly classrooms are changing, it is best to forget methods you may remember from when you were in school and start thinking about newer teaching and learning techniques based on digital learning tools and technologies. The inclusion of digital learning in the classrooms can vary from simply using tablets instead of paper to using elaborate software programs and equipment as opposed to the simple pen.”

Read this article for more information

 

The impact of social media and screen use on children

 

http://www.childnet.com/ufiles/UK-Safer-Internet-Centre-response-to-the-Science-and-Technology-Committee-Inquiry-(April-2018)1.pdf

BETT Show 2018

What an exhausting week but very worthwhile. We met some really lovely people and had some very interesting conversations regarding the future of education and how digital technology can be a positive force in society in the future.

We are very pleased to be working with Robotix and we launched two new products PlayBits and RoboBricks both were received very positively with quite a few delegates saying that they were the best thing they had seen at BETT. We are working now very hard to put the final touches to the products and get them out into schools.

Our Labdisc dataloggers were again creating a very sizeable buzz. These are now an established digital device which schools find very easy to use and students find they are able to create experiments quickly and then analyse the results in a variety of ways.

We also talked to a young guy who had a fantastic product called the

Storyball We had a long conversation with co-founder Meir Biton and we are looking forward very much to working with the company in the future.

Bett Show – 24th to 27th January 2018

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The annual Bett Show is the biggest British educational training and technology show and will be held at the Excel in London this year. This immense exhibition brings together 850 leading companies and 103 new edtech start ups from all over the world. It is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate, seek knowledge and find inspiration about how innovation is changing the face of current education.

The mission of this event is to portray cohesion within the education sector and also teach one another about the modern technologies that are surfacing to give children and educators a new experience of learning, that enables them to fulfil their potential in their everyday work.

There will be talks held over the course of three days by various speakers. These will give you an insight into various companies and their technologies, to inspirational educational talks on how we as a society of education are shaping the future for upcoming generations. There will also be stands for each company, where you can get interactive with different technologies and learn more about the products that are available to enhance everyday learning experiences. More information about the show can be found here.

You can find Tyncan learning at stand A440 in partnership with Robotix. Come along and discover the TACO playbits, TACO robobricks, and PHIRO code. These are new technologies that encourage children from the ages of 3 to use technology as a source of fun, educational learning. More information about these can be found at the following website: Robotix

****COMPETITION TIME**** Over the 3 days that we are at the Bett show, you can enter into our competition by simply giving your contact details, with a chance to win a PHIRO unplugged.