Favourite five from 2020

At the end of every calendar year, I like to look back on my blog posts and shine a light on five of my favourites. My choices aren’t based on any engagement data. They’re just the ones that I am personally most proud of.

This year, my blog has been dominated by the coronavirus and remote learning. I have been documenting these experiences since February. As teachers and schools, we have been continually tweaking our remote/hybrid practices in response to feedback, experience and new information. Although it’s fascinating to look back on these posts and see how it all unfolded, many of them are now outdated. Below, I have listed my favourite five blog posts that deserve to be revisited because, I hope, they continue to offer a lot of value. Let’s start with some honourable mentions.

Honourable mentions:

My thoughts on George Floyd, racism and the important role of education

Video overlay options in iMovie

Digital leadership with Olivia Van Ledtje and Louie DaCosta

Design thinking: reducing and resolving student conflicts

Top 5:

5. Innovation: from buzzword to mindset

The intention of this blog post was to provide some clarity around the meaning of innovation and, specifically, what it means in school and classroom contexts. I also addressed the myth that innovation requires technology. Although there is a connection, as I explained in the post, it’s possible to innovate without technology and it’s possible to use technology in ways that aren’t innovative. The meaning of innovation is, actually, helpfully simple. It is something that all teachers and schools should strive for.

“…innovation is one of the most misused and misunderstood words in our profession, often dismissed as a meaningless buzzword. So, what is innovation? What does it mean to innovate? Why does it matter?”

4. Ozobot 101: everything you need to get started

This year, my school adopted a 1:1 approach to robotics, purchasing an Ozobot for every student. I have really enjoyed getting to know this resource and integrating it into lessons. As the title suggests, this blog post offers an introduction to Ozobot and how it works. I explained the two ways to code Ozobots and also shared some information about Ozobot Classroom, the Hybrid Program and the complementary apps. Since it was my birthday, I also used this post to give away some Ozobot Evo Educator Entry Kits.

“Ozobot is a pocket-sized and affordable robot, ideal for promoting STEM, coding and creativity in the classroom… Its unique selling point is the ability to code in two ways: screen-free using the colour markers and online using the OzoBlockly editor.”

3. Highlights from our body systems unit

This blog post is a very recent one. We had just finished teaching this unit about human body systems and I was keen to share some of the highlights. I had a great time with this unit because it included lots of exciting lessons, authentic STEM integration and loads of fun! I also learnt a lot about the human body alongside my students! This unit had it all – coding, AR, dancing, making, robotics, sketchnoting and even a car accident!

“We have just concluded our second unit of the year, a Who We Are unit about body systems. I’d like to share a few highlights because it was packed with rich learning engagements that brought the fascinating science to life!”

2. Nintendo Labo: where gaming meets STEM education

In the summer, I bought the Nintendo Labo Variety Kit for my Nintendo Switch and absolutely loved it! More importantly, I saw a lot of classroom potential. Labo is bang on trend in the maker movement and allows users to create, tinker and even code. I have since purchased the newer Labo Vehicle Kit and I’m even more impressed at how it unlocks my creativity! This blog post outlines exactly what Labo is and why it’s such a great product for kids. It’s so much more than a pile of cardboard!

“So, what is Nintendo Labo? At first glance, not much! A very expensive pile of cardboard, you might think! But there’s much more to it than that! Nintendo Labo kits offer the DIY construction of cardboard products, known as Toy-Con. The included Nintendo Switch software provides step-by-step instructions on how to create the Toy-Con products, as well as playable video games that utilise them, information on how they work and even a coding platform to take it further.”

  1. What is design thinking?

In recent months, I have learnt a lot about design thinking and how to use it to transform student learning. It is something that I have developed a passion for. The aim of this blog post was to consolidate all of that learning and use it to offer a useful overview for teachers. I summarised each phase of the design thinking process: Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test. If you’d like to dive deeper into design thinking, click on the links in that blog post. The books and courses come highly recommended.

“Design thinking offers a powerful addition to our teaching toolkit to enhance classroom experiences and promote deeper learning.”

I hope that you enjoy revisiting these posts. Enjoy what’s left of the holiday season and have a happy new year! I wish you all the best for 2021! Thanks again for supporting my blog this year.

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  1. You are doing wonderful job for needy ones. GOD bless you and you always flourish with full swing. Keep this enthusiasm forever…..

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