A quiet month

April never promised to be the busiest month in this year’s calendar and work-wise, that has been particularly true because of the way in which Easter has fallen this year. However, on a social, family and learning front – it has been non-stop rock and roll. See http://saturdaywalks.wordpress.com for more about the social side of April (and especially, Easter).

I started the month by finishing off some City and Guilds Functional Skills ICT marking; all done and dusted by 7th. Earlier, on the 4th, I went into Leeds to meet Lilian Soon, James Clay, John Whalley and Ron Mitchell for a meal and a chat – a fabulous F2F! We talked about all sorts and as always, it’s great to meet these creative friends.

On the 6th, I met Lilian and Ron again (along with many other fun and ‘e’ type chums) at a special Techdis (no longer TechDis) meeting for Accredited Trainers. Then on the 7th, I went over to the Salford TEN centre to join the RM team at a day-long LEGO training session. This session concerned a grown up version of LEGO, not the WeDo version I’ve been playing with in-between everything else this last few weeks.

On the 9th, we realised that the good weather which had started earlier in the week, just wasn’t going to go away – which was good because Sharon and I had to drive up to Glasgow to retrieve her mum Pat. Pat lives in Dothan, Alabama and had been staying up near Plockton, Kyle of Lockalsh visiting her terminally ill sister (Sharon’s aunt). Sadly, her sister had passed away and her nephew David agreed to bring her down to Glasgow for the ‘exchange’. It was a beautiful day and the journey was an absolute delight.

w/c 11th was spent playing with LEGO and carrying out some preparation for work I have coming up in June and July. I have a small piece of work to carry out for RM on their learning platform on the 28th and that’s that for April. Remember to look at http://saturdaywalks.wordpress.com for more ‘Easter’ blogging.

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Lego

I’ve had another cracking day today!

I’ve been at the Salford TEN Centre again, this time supporting Derek (RM) as he delivered a ‘Control’ session to a group of year 4/5s (8-9 years old?). He started by talking about the sort of things which are ‘controlled’ in everyday life. The kids were great and came up with all sorts of ideas. They were then introduced to the kit we were going to play with. Well – not so much ‘play’ as ‘construct’.

The morning’s task was to follow pictorial instructions and to construct a crocodile.

The crocodile was then controlled by means of some software which they programmed by dragging and dropping ‘start motor’, ‘hold motor’, ‘reverse motor’, ‘add sound’ etc. controls onto the desktop. The crocodile then opened and closed its mouth as a sensor told it to.

After dinner, they were given a choice of about ten other models they could build and were set free! It was an absolute blast. Between them, they made each possible model.

This time instead of following printed instructions, they followed instructions online. Although many of the young learners still sought assistance, they did so less often than they did in the morning. Whilst I realise that they were inexperienced in the morning, they were also less reluctant to go back through the online instructions to check their progress than they were with the paper ones. They felt much freer using online instructions than they did using paper ones. A lesson for us?

They made all sorts of things, birds, monkeys, goalies, cranes, spinners – all sorts. Fabulous.