Kano: ICT education, easy as Pi!

I stumbled across the Kano Kickstarter project this evening, and felt compelled to take to this blog in order to say what an excellent idea this really is!

There has been a lot of negative media coverage over the state of ICT education in the UK, and from my perspective this seems fairly justified. As far as I can remember, none of my ICT teachers in high school actually had any qualification in the field, and only one or two had any relevant experience to bring to the classroom. The majority were almost completely unaware of anything other than the allocated syllabus, but it only took one particular teacher (who has influenced my career path much more than anyone will ever realise!) with a passion for programming and the subject in general to get me hooked. It’s worth noting that this inspiration didn’t come from the taught subject matter itself, it was extra-curricular activities that really got me started in the field. ICT will continue to be a niche subject until the curriculum is updated to actively engage kids, rather than subjecting them to endless lessons on dry subjects on network architectures and database schemas. I may be biased as a kinaesthetic learner, but I think that the best way to get kids to engage with and learn this subject is by getting hands on.

The Raspberry Pi foundation have done a fantastic job bringing a cheap (ยฃ30) computer in reach of everyone. I own a couple myself for general tinkering and hacking about, and can honestly say it’s the main reason why I started playing with electronics, and gave me the confidence to start on a whole raft of new projects (such as this) which I never would have considered before. However, selling the raw pieces as they do, this machine seems weird and scary, outside the reach of the majority of educators and parents. While this is not a failing of the foundation itself (as I think they’ve been slightly overwhelmed by demand from the hobbyist sector), it’s crying out for someone to take this excellent system and package it in a more friendly way. Enter Kano.

Kano appears on the face of things to be a very simple project – they’re packaging up the Pi with the majority of peripherals needed to run it, and crucially they’re including kid-friendly instructions on how to get the whole thing working. Their use of the phrase “Simple as Lego” really struck a chord with me – that’s exactly the right way to approach this kind of teaching, by letting the kids play, hack around and figure it out themselves.

I really hope that the guys behind Kano take some of the money they’ve made from this project (it’s already 3 times over their target as I write this, with another 27 days left to run!) and take these kits into schools at a lower per-unit cost for education uses, just to make them a truly irresistible purchase for any ICT department. I genuinely believe that giving kids access to this kind of kit as part of their curriculum will not only educate them, but it’ll help inspire a future generation of hacker nerds – and that’s no bad thing in my view!

Revision Dodging

Right now, I have 26 hours until my next exam (Computing CP4), yet I am sat blog posting! What a mistake-a to make-a!

Anyway, I’ve now done 5 exams, and have another 8 left to go. Only 13 days left though! They do like to cram these exams into a nice small space of time!

Since I’ve finished school, I’ve discovered PKR – a 3D poker game that you play from your computer over t’internet against other people. It’s quite addictive – and a very good waste of time! I came 112th out of 400 in a tournament last night, went all-in on a pair of Kings, the other bastard had a pair of Aces -.- Will be back in the tournament tonight, going to beat last nights record!

I’ve also discovered some more stuff, which I’ll post about later today.

Right, who wants a game of Monopoly?!

May Ball

Just woken up after a rather epic night at the May Ball. I expected it to be a bit more emotional, since it is the last time we’re going to see everyone, but as soon as the booze was flowing (at expensive rates!) I realised that wasn’t true ๐Ÿ˜›

Got a lift there in style (with Daves dad, same as for year 11 prom) and then Rick tried to emulate the prom some more by jumping into a bush… video’s will be up later!

Food was crap considering what we paid (£37, for a slab of chicken!), and the DJ wasn’t up to much at all!

Started calling in drinks from all kinds of people, got 2 free shots and at least 3 free cider’s from various people, including Mr Hughes – you legend! I really couldn’t afford much at £3.75 a pint! £3 for shots as well… more than twice the price you’ll pay around Poynton!

Anyway, got in at about 2am, after trying to put my key into a wall. Doors are hard to work after a night drinking! Bit worse for wear this morning, but nothing a bit of revision won’t fix! 19 days, 1 hour, 7 mins until I’m done with exams ๐Ÿ˜€ Woop!

No more school… ever!

I have finally left that horrible school they call ‘Poynton High’! Yay ๐Ÿ˜€

It’s a weird feeling, knowing that I’ll never have to go back to there for lessons, but I’ve waited long enough for this day to come!

We spent the day leaving our mark around the school (not graffiti, just some well placed pranks!), but I shall not post photo’s for fear of incriminating myself ๐Ÿ˜Ž What fun!

Celebrated with a nice weekend chillaxing with mates, and a trip out to Kings on Friday night, where it turned out that most of our year (past and present) had as well!

Only regret – not getting one of the PHS leavers hoodies, I’d never been told about them ๐Ÿ™ I’ll have to see if I can get one made up!

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I need to get better at this blogging lark, no updates in nearly a month! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

I have just got back from completing my Music Tech coursework logs. If anyone from AQA happens to read this – they’re a waste of time! I’ve spent the last 2 days doing nothing but logs, and I bet they never get read. I hate examiners some times!

I’ve also got A2 exams next week. Eek! Maths C4 and Music Tech resit on Wednesday, and then Physics resit on Thursday. Can’t wait…

Still, on the bright side – 32 days left until my last exam ๐Ÿ˜€ Woop!

When will it end?!

This week is going to be another bad one!

Not got another free between now and Wednesday – including lunchtimes! They’re taken up from now until Friday with doing Battle of the Bands in school! Damn Music Tech!!

Got a Cub meeting at the fire station tonight, should be entertaining… for the Cubs! Group leaders meeting on Wednesday night as well.

Oh, and on top of that I’ve got school, homework, coursework, the usual crap! Goodbye week!

This week…

I’ve been busy.

Monday brought a Music Tech day, with people from Huddersfield Uni coming in to talk to us about their course basically. Then some practical workshops, which were a bit useful, but not very! Could have spent the day better by doing my coursework. Which brings me on to…

Tuesday. Tech coursework. Managed to get Task 5 pretty much complete, but I bet that Slim MT will butcher it tomorrow! Did some more work on my Task 1 (multitrack), trying to get vocals to sound good. Don’t think that’ll happen! Came home and did some Maths work, what fun!

Wednesday (Tomorrow/Today). Tech coursework. Hopefully will get Task 1 and 3 complete, and then work on 4. Fingers crossed I may finish the coursework part of the course! Probably some Maths/Computing when I get back.

Thursday. Driving lesson + maybe cinema in the afternoon (if I can afford it!). Need to try and get a hair cut as well!

Friday. All day Computing/Maths/Physics.

Saturday. Some sort of Network workshop. No idea what it is, but its region-organised – so probably a load of bollocks. Hopefully will end up in a pub though!

Sunday. Cheshire Hike base with McNetwork. Going to be a fun day – that’ll definitely end up in a pub!

Monday. In school for Computing probably.

And then its back to school

Goodbye holiday!

My life: update!

I’m annoyed at my computer right now. Are there any trojans going the round right now? :S My PC seems to slow to a crawl one minute, and then be fine the next ๐Ÿ™ I think its dying/infected – and either way I want rid of it!!!

Managed to get next draft of Physics coursework done this weekend – but then the bloody printer ran out of ink, and I’ve got none spare ๐Ÿ™ Have to wait for a Viking order to come through now!!! At least I’ve got an excuse for not doing Computing coursework though ๐Ÿ˜€ Hehe

I’m fed up of Poynton. That’s enough said on the matter, although things are looking up slightly! School still blows though…

Thats about it for my life at the moment… interesting isn’t it?!

Lack of blogging

Well, you can all imagine why I’ve not been blogging much recently… I’ve got an iPhone!

Yes, almost 1 year to the day of it being announced at Macworld – I hold in my hand the epitome of cool.

The adverts really can’t show it at all, its an awesome bit of kit, only got a few complaints:

  • No multiple texts
  • No MMS
  • Headphone jack
  • Home button
  • Applications "crash" to the home screen quite often

Most problems should be fixed with the 1.1.3 update, however, which hopefully is out next week, being announced at MacWorld!

Anyway, back to life…

Got exams this week, had Maths C2 yesterday (went okay, thought of an answer as soon as I left the hall though ๐Ÿ™ there goes 5 marks). Got Physics resit and Maths C3 tomorrow – fun. I intend to have a fun time at Nic’s party tomorrow evening though – I may not make it home!

Handed in my Physics coursework, a month before I had to :o! I’ll wait and see if it comes back though, teacher’s still had my last piece for 3 months without marking it -.-

I’m rather depressed about going back to school, would much rather be off to Uni tomorrow!

On the subject of Uni – I’ve had offers from Kent, Nottingham and Edinburgh so far, and have interviews at York and Durham! Kent want me to visit though, which means a 6 hour journey on the train just to get there ๐Ÿ™ May have to drive… somehow!