Work Place Learning Space

Graham asked me to do something fun which is unusual because *everyday* is fun at Pontydysgu. He asked for five photographs around learning spaces so I tried to capture the five most important aspects of my work based learning.

My deskfullsizerender-5

Complete with coffee, piles of unsorted paperwork, family photos, sharpies, MacBook, interweb, and most importantly a notepad for scribbles and doodles and lists and ideas which need to be instantly recorded, flowing straight out of my brain onto the paper without ever having to wait for the spinning beachball.

 

My alternative desk

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I do my best writing curled up on the sofa in the evenings. I think it’s because it doesn’t feel like work and there are no distractions.

Outdoor thinking space

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Some days a change of scenery and some exercise is the absolute best way to process information, make decisions, put things in the right order. On other days this would be a picture of the gym, but today is a lovely sunny day in Wales.

Mind expansion

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Read fiction, read non-fiction, read about what I’m working on, read about something so far removed from what I’m working on that I have no idea how I found it, read out loud, read poetry, read picture books, reading makes things make sense.

Music

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Graham stared with a cool black and white office picture so here’s mine. Music to work to, music to switch off from work to.

What can Open Data do for public services?

Good Practice Exchange at The Wales Audit Office

The Wales Audit Office is holding a Google Hangout on Open Data. It will look at how Open Data can help public services to deliver joined up, transparent and effective public services. In this blogpost, Dyfrig Williams looks at why the Good Practice Exchange is interested in the topic.

Last year the Effective Services for Vulnerable Groups team at the Welsh Government approached us about the possibility of doing some work around highlighting good practice around effective data sharing. When we held a scoping meeting, we found ourselves being drawn into two slightly different discussions – one on sharing personal data, and another on the merits of Open Data. To do justice to both, we decided to hold two separate events. The event on personal data really helped bust some myths around data protection, especially where the Assistant Information Commissioner for Wales got to grips with the issues that public services…

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Very Hungry QR Caterpillars

The Taccle  project ran workshops at the National Digital Learning Event for Wales last week. One of the many ideas we presented for embedding ICT across the curriculum was using QR codes to enhance books.

Here’s a link to download ready made codes for The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Cut them out and stick them in the book or use them as part of an interactive display.

Make your own QR codes here.

Have fun!

Charts and viral videos aside, this is why I’m voting IN.

I joked about it six months ago, “if Brexit happens I’m out of a job”, happy in the knowledge that Britain is better off in Europe, that Wales is better off in Europe.

I still believe that. For me there are no compelling reasons to leave, the least of which is ‘getting back control of our borders’. We have control.

I’m not scared of immigrants. I’m scared of Fascists.

I’m not scared of refugees. I’m scared of the people who would deny them refuge.

So now I’m wondering, what do I know about the EU that makes me so sure it’s a good thing? What do I know that the other 52% don’t?

The European Commission pay my wages.

They don’t just give me money without a bloody good reason though, applying for funding to pay me around £100 a week requires a detailed plan, an 80 page application form, research, explanations meeting their strict criteria, coordinating a team of partners across Europe, finding the best people, assurances from accountants, weeks of unpaid work… and if the Commission don’t think it’s going to benefit enough other people, people who need it, it’s back to the drawing board.

And if we are successful? We have to work hard and deliver a high quality project, we have to prove that real people are benefiting, we have to provide research and evidence and reports and publications and make the project sustainable even after the money has all been spent and account for every penny and cent or the Commission will take it all back.

Yes that takes bureaucracy. I’m glad it does. It means that money from the EU goes to people who need it.

People like  The Squad in London who worked alongside DragonHall Trust on the RadioActive project where young people with no qualifications, young people at risk of exclusion from society and young people with multiple profound learning disabilities were trained in media skills, given a platform, and empowered to make some cracking Internet Radio. The money from the EU ran out years ago but because of their initial contribution the project is still running in three countries, improving self esteem, increasing employability and giving a voice to people who need to be heard.

People like kids in Rhondda Cynon Taf, one of the poorest areas in Europe (It’s in a convergence region so the per capita gross domestic product(GDP) is less than 75% of the average GDP of the EU-25) who get to experience free tech-workshops, broadening their horizons.

People like teachers, everywhere, who get free CPD training and teaching resources provided through projects like Taccle3 (and then there’s CPD for NHS staff and Construction workers and Public Employment Services and support for people starting new businesses…)

If we leave, do you really think Westminster gives a damn about the at risk people, the people with disabilities or the kids living in poverty. We give money to the EU, the EU re-distributes it where it is needed most. I don’t trust the government to do that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#blimage

blimage

Curiosity got the better of me and I had to find out what the #blimage was going on in my Twitter feed. Turns out there’s some viral edu-blogging going on. Give someone a picture and challenge them to turn it into a learning related post. This youtube video from the originator @AmyBurvall explains it nicely.

I found my pic on the #blimage pinterest board. I feel like that’s cheating because I got to choose from a great selection. This one reminded me of my Babitech avatar, and also of a podcast I listened to recently about the maker movement.

Making is not just about robots and Minecraft, it’s about understanding your environment, making meaning from the physical objects and space around you. Going back to first principles and learning by doing. A makerspace does not need thousands of pounds worth of equipment, (as nice as that would be) rather like this challenge it’s about creativity in constraint.

All you need is time, some basic materials and curiosity.

That apple in my #blimage, it’s a battery, a stamp, a pie filling, a jam, a sauce, a hallowe’en game, an embryonic orchard, cider, part of a makeymakey piano, a tree decoration, a shrunken head, a source of pectin and 20 other chemicals, a floating tea-light holder…

The ethernet cable however is useless, I’ve got wifi!

Readers of this and the Pontydysgu blog, I challenge you to continue the game of #blimage with a picture from https://www.pinterest.com/sensor63/blimage/ or with this;

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Wales National Digital Learning Event 2015

Jen and I went along to the National Digital Learning Event and Awards in Cardiff earlier in June. We handed out Taccle books and went to some workshops. There were a few to choose from but I attended a technocamps session which explored some ways of teaching computer science using lego bricks, (build a simple lego structure, now explain to your partner how to build an identical structure without them seeing what you have built) using people, (direct your person around the room using simple commands) and using Cargo Bot. I like what technocamps do, kit like Lego Mindstorms is pretty expensive, so they take the kit around to secondary schools and colleges across Wales for one day workshops. For lots of ideas about how to teach computing, coding and programming for the rest of the year you could check out the Taccle2 blog and the Babitech page.

In the afternoon I had fun playing with Sonic Pi , which uses code for composing and performing music, you can see me in the video below (just after the 2 minute mark) getting flustered because there was a mistake in my loop. Don’t let that put you off, it was really good fun and a great way to get instant and useful results form your code.

The best thing about the day was seeing the great things being done across Wales with Ponty locals Big Click scooping the Commercial Digital Project Award

You can see all of the other inspirational kids and teachers getting their tech on at the Hwb website with projects like e-safety, coding with minecraft, creating an interactive local map and staging a robot wars competition.

Keep an eye out for next years entries, Welsh kids are good with technology, the competition should be tough!

On the BabiTech iPhone

Pre-school and Welsh language app reviews from my Babitech blog.

Babi Tech

I’m sure you’re all dying to know which apps made it to the current BabiTech list. If there’s something missing that Babis 1 and 2 really need to have, stick it in the comments and we’ll try it out.

IMG_4720Toca Boca

Toca Boca’s Hair Xmas, Toca Builders, Toca Band, Toca Fairy Tales, Toca Hair Salon 2, Toca Kitchen Monster, Toca Doctor

Yes we are huge fans of Toca Boca, no they didn’t pay me to say that. We’ve not found one we don’t all like. The games are well thought out, catchy but not mindless, creative, educational and fun.

Apps Cymraeg

S4C Cyw, Cyw a’r Wyddor, Mwnci Bach, Tref a Tryst, Cyfri gyda Cyw, Ben Dant

The apps produced by S4C are pretty good, my favourites are Cyw a’r Wyddor which helps teach letter formation (Welsh alphabet) and Cyfri gyda Cyw which does the same with numbers. Mwnci Bach…

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