Joint Computing at School and Digital D&T meeting | Manchester | 8th July 2013

I’m delighted to be able to say that (free) tickets for the first (of what I hope will be many) jointly run meeting between the Manchester branch of Computing at School (CAS) and the Greater Manchester Digital D&T Support Centre are now available here.

Note that the ticketing for this event is not through this site but through Eventbrite. CAS tell me that tickets for their networking events are claimed quite quickly, so if you want to come along please book a ticket now!

If you are a D&T teacher, see if you can bring along  a Computing teacher from your school; equally if you’re from ICT/Computing, please bring along a colleague from D&T.

The details of the event are on the Eventbrite site (link above), but the summary below might be helpful:

Meet other Computing/ICT and D&T teachers in the North West to share ideas and good practice and brainstorm on the best ways to cooperate to improve the teaching and learning of our subjects in our area.

In addition to open discussion about teaching Computing and D&T from KS1 to A level, the meeting will include the following exciting sessions:

 Makey Makey to Raspberry Pi – Which Board?

Torben Steeg is an education consultant with a background and interests in computing, science, D&T and related areas who runs the Greater Manchester Digital D&T network.

This session will outline how D&T teachers have been using microcontrollers to design and make programmable products over the last 15 years or so. A brief overview of the kinds of pedagogies used will be accompanied by a summary of the microcontroller systems currently in use.

 App Inventor Workshop

 Learn to create basic Android apps using App Inventor, a blocks based programming language similar to Scratch. Carl Simmons and Paula Beer, co-authors of “AppInventor Android programming for kids and the rest of us” will lead this hands on session where you will learn to make Sheep say “Baa!”, do some finger painting and perhaps find out why everything is better with Zombies. Feel free to bring your own Android devices (phones or tablets) to use in the session*.

 *If participants are bringing their own Android devices then it would speed things up if they download and install the MIT AICompanion app from here https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=edu.mit.appinventor.aicompanion2

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A tool kit for a new D&T curriculum?

While we are all waiting with bated breath as to the outcome of the consultation with the DfE over the programme of study for D&T I’m minded to point up the existence of a very useful document from Education for Engineering (E4E). Entitled New Principles for Design & Technology in the National Curriculum the document takes the position that D&T is not a vocational subject but a general academic subject and has its own fundamental body of knowledge, principles and concepts which are not provided elsewhere in the curriculum. The document adopts a toolkit approach and the tool box is split into four groups: Design, Technology, Critique and Data. Thus the tool kit presents an overarching set of concepts and principles that can be applied to any aspect of D&T regardless of the medium in which the pupils are working. Using key concepts and principles, the intention is that this approach will create a shift in emphasis from teaching separate sub-disciplines to a more coherent curriculum for D&T. This ‘bodies of knowledge’ approach is applicable to primary and secondary schools, but the contents of this document are specifically relevant to KS3.

I have to acknowledge some bias here as I am one of the authors of the document but I think it would be well worth downloading the document and see what this approach might do for the D&T curriculum in your school.

E4E New Principles for Design & Technology in the National Curriculum