Students Collaborate with Teachers to build Apps for Teachers!

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Recently at Uppingham Community College in England - UK our students have been collaborating with their Teachers. In their ICT lessons they were learning a very new 21st century skill of programming. The idea being that these students build their apps and that they would be used in the lessons with the teachers.

The project start out with students auditioning to take part in a coding project and it's turned into something much bigger than I anticipated. The students went around to interview teachers and they would ask them about the type of app which would help learning in the classroom. I have attached some images of the forms which were filled out by the students and you can see the teachers signature for requirements.

"The role of the teacher is to create the conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge." was once written by Seymour Papert.

He said that we as teachers can create the conditions for invention. This is exactly what we have done in this situation. With students discussing ideas with teachers and teachers suggesting different routes, in our ICT lessons the students were taught the basic concepts of programming.

However once the ideas started flowing and once the tutorials had been given to the students, the students were able to access video tutorials I had produced along with resources which allowed me to flip the learning. The students were going home and continuing the development of their own learning. This was all because of TouchDevelop.com - They were able to use a windows live ID and they could store the app development in the cloud. Students were developing their ideas on the bus, on the train or whatever transport they were taking to school. This is the great thing about TouchDevelop.com - It is the tool I used for coding but it was a cloud based tool. Students can access it on any device and it doesn't tie them down.

Since the beginning of this project, students are now developing more and more apps and these are being used in lessons over and over again. 4 of these apps are currently in the windows store and you can find out about some of them in a recent blog post here : - http://raychambers.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/one-hour-of-code-two-students-with-apps/

What started out as an initial project to encourage students to code has now grown into a whole school project which allows the students to be in control of apps used within the curriculum. They're able to use their skills across the curriculum and can build apps to help other students.

Students have had national recognition and one of the students apps has been downloaded over 300 times. This is more feedback than I could ever give him in lessons. It is such an achievement for the students seeing their name in the window app store and they're now leading a group of students who are coming up to the school to help them be the next generation of coders within our school.

These were the technical skills which they were given. I previously used to teach technology subjects thinking all about the technology involved. I have grown a lot in my own practice since the beginning of this project and have been able to give the students more voice and have worried less about the technical details. The students have been at the for front with my tool being TouchDevelop.com

I look forward to sharing this project with you in more depth at the Global Forum in Barcelona.

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