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Draft topics for C3

Good to review following topics with more strategic ('TPM'-style) activities in mind - considering the final conference and plan of work for year 3. This draft was drawn up prior to the C3 event: it contains some ideas that have not been implemented, but may be a useful source of inspiration.

A mini-conference: Talks / seminars for larger audience than just the CONSTRUIT! consortium, similar to the research seminar such as was organised in May, where there were representatives from the ICT for Eritrean Education - ICT4EEDU project. This could involve academics/teachers/students working on other joint projects with UEF (e.g. TACCLE3 / Eritrea) - and possibly with other partners - for instance, especially if we could build on the CONSTRUIT! developments so far to produce concrete examples of potential applications for discussion. Engaging any of the Finnish students who came to C5 and C6 who are still in the vicinity would be particularly helpful - as would linking up with Jarkko Suhonen. Mikko Vesisenaho and Markku Tukiainen might also be well-placed to contribute to such discussion (e.g. it would be good to hear from Markku about spreadsheet principles and software - as didn't happen at C2). Erkki Sutinen and Patrick Dillon are other contacts who would be welcome, and are representatve of people we would like to attract for the final meeting / conference at Warwick in July 2017.

School and teacher participation / engagement?: Should we try to organize teachers to participate and/or plan interventions in local schools, whether during or after the C3 meeting? Whatever specific plans we make, this agenda can be considered alongside the agenda mapped out in relaton to widening participation: cf. an (unsuccessful) proposal to the Warwick University WP Development Fund to be reviewed here. Key theme: soliciting ideas about OERs from teachers, not attempting to produce resources for them to deploy in preconceived ways [cf. comments by Piet at Pedagogy Interim Review in March 2016, SBR]. Report specifically on topics we plan to explore with Warwick University staff such as:

  • mathematics -Sue Johnston-Wilder
  • language learning - Teresa MacKinnon
  • ICT and CS - the role of technology and online resources (Mick Hammond)

Relevant topics:

  • EU Code Week: Developing and organising an activity, similar in level of difficulty to the basic coding exercises that feature in the international "week of code", that can be tackled by school children with very limited exposure to practical computing / computer science. A proposal for funds to support an activity of this nature, based on the introductory worksheet devised by Antony Harfield and others at C2, has been submitted to Google (as in this near-final draft). Ant observes that "we can do this anyway".
  • Primary Computing unplugged: using the MCE to support the development of teaching resources for primary computing (as in TACCLE3). [See the speed-geek talk and a workshop relating to this topic presented to the UK CAS audience at../construit/year2/CAS2016.] Much of the unplugged computing activity profiled at the CAS 2016 conference (especially for primary computing) could benefit from analysis from the observational perspective that making construals promotes - for instance, if we were to try to instruct a child how to give change, to what extent are the problems of misconstrual that manifest in inappropriate actions attributable to incapacity to observe? We're quite accustomed to noting that children don't specify *instructions* explicitly enough when learning what an algorithm is, but it might be more fruitful and interesting to get them to consider what they're expecting the computational agent to register and respond to when carrying out steps.
  • OOC for making construals in relation to open online computing courses: What does our best guess at a curriculum for making construals look like - and can we link it to the mainstream agenda? Things we should look at include: Peter Kemp's AQA A level Computing wikibook; online curriculum support for the Eritrean context (such as we discussed in May) - to be linked to our prototype online course for making construals? Perhaps Carolina has some parallel thoughts re Mexico here? Definitely now seems to make most sense to proceed via Use-Modify-Create aspiration, and focus on producing OERs that teachers wish to use for which they may not at first realise the virtues of implementation via making construals. Vital to start with what teachers need - even perhaps with what they can routinely deploy: e.g. creating resources for STEM teaching in a small primary school where one teacher is responsible for all levels. This was the proposal at SciFest2015 that it would be good to follow up with a teacher whom we've not heard from since: (this might just be a good motivation for a visit to a local school, especially if we could do some useful homework and preparation). This is a different ind of engagement from what we have done with teachers so far, more to do with listening and assisting from the backseat.
  • Making construals as a frame for teaching programming: A more ambitious goal linked to the above agenda is teaching a specific programming language such as JavaScript in several different paradigms (procedural / object-oriented / functional). This is potentially a kind of 'construals-first' approach to conventional programming. Elizabeth and Nick both have interesting ideas to contribute here.
  • Mathematical resilience: This is theme that Steve explored with our Thai visitor Heng earlier this year. It could link up well with Tapani's work on Arduinolas and our thought about incorporating mathematical ideas such as perfect matching in the 'are you happy?' context. Embryonic joint work on geometric modelling that Elizabeth has been developing with Valery and Alexander at the NCCA may also represent an interesting interface to maths.
  • Educational Robotics: Exploiting work such as is being developed by Tapani, as we would like to encourage Erkko Saviaro to undertake, as we might revisit picking up threads from Ilkka's PhD thesis with the new technology at our disposal. Other thoughts regarding Tapani's work are basic medicine for children - animating conditions such as chickenpox, mumps, malaria etc using Arduinolas as virtual patients. There's something I implemented for Joseph Bada for his UEF PhD thesis that could work along these lines. Animating emotional responses to music with Arduinolas could also be interesting - I would partcularly like to do it with a classical composition (such as Schubert's Erlkoenig). (Might be profitable to develop some of these ideas with the invitation from Dimitris to contribute to robotics in Athens in November in mind.)