I asked for suggestions for a replacement for Netskills TONIC and Chris Hall (@chris_hall) passed on this recommendation from one of his students: BBC WebWise. This is a beginner’s course aimed at adults who are new to computers and the internet. It has a very wide brief which seems to be the closest to TONIC in it’s range of topics. Very high-quality resources as well as you’d expect from the BBC. Although not a direct replacement, WebWise was the best alternative that I have come across so far, and is the one I will be using with my EG-152 class this year (I will be linking to the Internet Detective and OU Safari too).
I asked for suggestions for a replacement for Netskills TONIC and Sam Oakley (@rscsam) also suggested SAFARI “a guided expedition through the information world.” This resource was developed by the Open University (OU) and looks like a comprehensive tutorial on accessing, finding and reviewing information — and not just from the Internet. The recommended time to work through the examples is 10-13.5 hours. TONIC was much more of a beginners guide to the internet but Safari looks an excellent resource for students embarking on a research project.
I asked for suggestions for a replacement for Netskills TONIC and Sam Oakley (@rscsam) suggested the Internet Detective (developed by the University of Bristol and Manchester Metropolitan University from an original tutorial by Marianne Peereboom. Though launched in 2006 it doesn’t appear to have been updated since 2009. TONIC was about the internet generally though, not just research.
“Last month I did a talk at the Campus Party, one of the biggest technology events of the world, talking about Fireworks, HTML5 and CSS3. It was very nice, the receptivity of the audience was sensational, and thinking that many of you would also like to see the contents of the workshop, so decided to write a full case study and share here on the blog.”
Last week I followed along with Michael Kölling’s introduction to Java (I’ve not had chance to catch up with this week’s yet) and I also worked through the first four exercises published by the Code Academy (see Bragging Rights on post image). Neither were too challenging to me as I already teach this stuff, but it’s still surprisingly satisfying to earn badges and points!
Of course The Guardian and Google’s and now the UK Government’s definition of Digital Literacy doesn’t match JISC’s, and therefore my University’s, so there’s a whole debate waiting to be had there!
Last October Aleks Krotoski, presenter of of The Guardian’s Tech Weekly podcast, chaired a series of special “Tech City” talks. The first of these was on Skills and Education (Audio recording here) and the panelists, which included David Willets, all criticised to current Schools ICT Curriculum by stating that it didn’t actually include any coding. This issue has been raised recently by many commentators but was highlighted by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s criticism of British Education at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, and the fact that it was the “Google View” perhaps gave it more prominence than it would otherwise have had.
Well, perhaps by coincidence, there are now two free online initiatives that are trying to change this. The first that I came across was the Joy of Code — an online tutorial from Michael Kölling of the University of Kent at Canterbury that is using Greenfoot and Java and is aimed at people who:
Want to find out how to write a computer game; [are] Interested in learning programming; Curious about object-oriented programming and Java; Heard about Greenfoot, but don’t really know what it is [or are] Teaching programming to others.
The course was announced on January 1st and there have already been 7 episodes!
As a teacher of coding and developer of code throughout my career, I shall be watching both with interest and playing along. And if you want to learn to code, why not join me?
An interesting experiment in a development tool for teaching Java programming. Aimed at Pre-University students and teachers it is similar in to Squeak and Logo in that it aims to “grab” interest by geting kids to program game-like simulations. Still, it’s Java under the Skin which makes it more immediately transferrable to Further and Higher Education where Java is commonly used as a first language in computing and engineering courses. The lead developer has just started an on-line open tutorial which can be found at http://blogs.kent.ac.uk/mik/category/joy-of-code/. From the ‘About’ page: “Greenfoot teaches object orientation with Java. Create ‘actors’ which live in ‘worlds’ to build games, simulations, and other graphical programs. “Greenfoot is visual and interactive. Visualisation and interaction tools are built into the environment. “The actors are programmed in standard textual Java code, providing a combination of programming experience in a traditional text-based language with visual execution.”
I will be following this with interest: “Want to find out how to write a computer game? Interested in learning programming? Curious about object-oriented programming and Java? Heard about Greenfoot, but don’t really know what it is? Teaching programming to others?” Not because I need to lean Java, but because coding has dropped out of favour in ICT at schools and several people have recently asked for it to be added back.