Project Euler

euler badge
I’ve just started using Project Euler to give myself the kick up the backside I’ve been looking for to finally get me to learn programming. I’ve settled for Python as my language of choice since I wanted to start with something I had absolutely zero experience in. If I’d attempted it in BASIC, Javascript or PHP I would have solved the first two a little quicker (not that I’m at all proficient in any of those three), but I wanted to see how I would do from scratch.

If we list all the natural numbers below 10 that are multiples of 3 or 5, we get 3, 5, 6 and 9. The sum of these multiples is 23.

Find the sum of all the multiples of 3 or 5 below 1000.

Problem 1 is really simple, in theory and I thought it would take me no more than half an hour to write a program to solve it in Python. However, I am completely unfamiliar with the syntax of Python and because I’m not a real programmer I didn’t really know what the proper names were for the sorts of things I wanted my program to do. I tried Googling for some documentation that would help me get my head around arrays in Python, and came up with some stuff about ‘lists’, which the BASIC part of my brain had trouble accepting…anyway, I cracked it after a few hours with a rather inelegant brute force method.

The thing I really like, apart from the excitement of typing in the answer and waiting to find out if it’s accurate, is the solution forum afterwards, where previous solvers share their method. I have found after solving problems 1 and 2 that it’s not only my knowledge of Python that limits my solutions, but my knowledge of Maths! I think I’ll learn a lot about maths and number theory as a result of this, which isn’t bad since I just wanted to learn Python.

Problem 3 is all about factorizing primes, of which I know nothing, so I think this one will take a little longer for me to crack. But I’m really enjoying learning something new. It is also confirming my suspicions about the way kids learn best (well, kids like me, anyway). I’m desperate to earn my level one badge, which is gained after one solves 25 problems. Also, that little public badge that proudly claims I’ve solved 2 so far is quite nice too!

Project Euler

TPACK – Some more thoughts…

After reading about TPACK over at the Concrete Classroom and writing up a brief response over on the staff training feed on the classroom blog, I have been thinking about a way that the concept raised by TPACK could inform the approach to better echnology integrating in the classroom.

I was also inspired by a comment on the CC blog (from Delta Scape) that pondered the TPACK Venn Diagram disks’ ability to ‘spin’, which I think I understood. My understanding of this ‘spinning disks’ idea was that the various pedagogical approaches are displayed as segments on the appropriate disk (like a perfectly equal pie chart), that similarly the available technologies are displayed as segments on the tech disk, and likewise with content. These can then be ‘spun’ to align the appropriate technology, to the appropriate pedagogy, to deliver the appropriate content.

As I stated back in my IWB post, I am all about the decision to use technology because it is appropriate in that context. I feel that this augmentation of the TPACK concept with the notion of ‘spinning disks’ could be a good starting point for thinking about how individual teachers choose to integrate ICT into the classroom appropriately.

TPACK – Some more thoughts…

AGQTP Web 2.0 Workshop, Day 1

Had a fantastic day today, led by Tom March, looking at incorporating web 2.0 into the classroom effectively.

As a result of the workshop I have set up another blog designed to host materials for each of my classes and the training material that I provide to the staff at school. It can be found at mrjbates.wordpress.com if you are interested.

The primary focus of the workshop was to build an online learning space that can be used to disseminate information to kids outside of class, so that class time can be used more effectively for learning (not just ‘teaching’).

Tom emphasised that there are 4 things that are needed for Web 2.0 to be used effectively in the classroom:

  1. We need an online space which is smart and user friendly…that’s where we meet.
  2. It needs to have a pedagogical validity – relying on what has previously worked as a framework using other tools.
  3. It needs to provide rich resources – things that we didn’t have 5 years ago. Schools used to be the place you would first access the internet…now it’s the least technologically advanced area in a child’s life!
  4. It needs a student self managed framework – 1:30 is not as effective as 1:1, but we can’t afford 1 student:1 teacher, 1 student:1 device is feasible…the role of the teacher is going to change.

So in response to this we set up the blogs as the smart online space that allows for the dissemination of rich media resources. The Look to Learn activities are based on thinking routines that have existed for a while and have proven pedagogical validity, and in a 1:1 environment or at home, students can navigate and respond to the tasks autonomously. My school is not at that stage yet, but it good to see that so much can be achieved with a tool as simple as WordPress.

I’m looking forward to the next 4 sessions.

AGQTP Web 2.0 Workshop, Day 1