Showing posts from 2012

Five benefits of learning with a friend

Learning with a friend
Throughout this year, I have been undertaking small learning projects with my friend and colleague, Steven Francis. I find our learning sessions invigorating and a large part of what I like about my workplace. In this post, I share some advantages of learning with a friend.
Steven and I have established a weekly ritual that has turned Friday afternoon from a draining time of the week into an enjoyable one: Every Friday after school, we pack up our our weekend corrections and head to a close-by eatery. We indulge in vegetarian pastries, soft drinks and some potato chips as we have a casual and, at times, cathartic chat (yes, men have those too!). After about 30 minutes, we head back to school and work on a learning project for about two hours. The common thread of our projects this year has been computer programming.

Three students at a teachers' conference

For the second year running, I had the privilege of taking three students to the VITTA annual conference to present a workshop on developing APPs using Corona SDK. This year, I took Ally from year 8, Yara from year 9 and Ping from year 11 (not their real names!). All three are members of the Avila College APP Group.  Preparation In my reflection on last year's experience, I wrote that 5 weeks would be needed to prepare the students. Unfortunately, this year's conference was at the start of week 4 of the school term. Starting at the end of the last semester would have been impractical as it would have clashed with exams and report-writing. Still, we met twice a week and the girls ran one of the APP Group meetings as a rehearsal.

Jessica's solution to a loopy problem

A well known algorithm, taught in Number Theory classes at tertiary level, is Euclid’s algorithm for finding the Greatest Common Divisor (GCD) of two numbers. In Australia, we tend to refer to the GCD as the Highest Common Factor. In this post, I describe the algorithm and present a year 8 student’s program that implements it.

The Algorithm To illustrate what the GCD of two numbers is, let’s consider a 21 x 15 rectangle.

The first APP Group meeting of 2012

Today we had the first meeting for this year's APP Group. According to returned permission forms, the group should have 37 student members. The attendance today was 34. I was also joined by two of my colleagues, Steven and Colleen. The latter has been reading Seymour Papert lately and has learnt that Scratch was created by one of his students, Mitchell Resnick.