“A Day in the Life” – Enspiral Dev Academy

So on Saturday I went along to the “A Day in the Life” that was being run by Enspiral Dev Academy. It was a day set up for people to experience what Dev Academy – “Join us for a chance to really feel what it’s like to be a boot at our nine-week programming academy. We will walk you through the paces so you get an honest taste of what cohort members learn, feel and become.”

The day started of with introductions, learning names and an outline of what to expect. We then were paired up for some ‘pairing’ (coding in pairs). I was paired with James and the first challenge was Javascript Racer. It was great doing coding in pairs as I wouldn’t have got very far by myself. This ended up taking us most of the day as I had very litle Javascript experience. James had a bit more and with some help from the teachers and coaches we got a working model.

In between our coding challenge there was sessions on web development, engineering empathy, optional yoga or heading out for a walk in the sun. The day really did give a good overview of what the 9 week Dev Academy boot camp is like.

There were a number of engineering empathy activities we did throughout the day and I gained a lot of insight from these. Firstly we paired up with someone and for 2 minutes answered the question ‘why I am here today?’. Our partner then feed that back to use (‘looped’ it). From this and then the journaling exercise we did later in the day a realisation came more into focus for me. A realisation that ever since I encountered technology (Mac computers) at university back in the early 90s, I have really enjoyed using it. And the more I have used technology the more I have enjoyed using it to solve problems. This has been a recurring theme throughout my working life – using technology to solve problems.

So, overall the day was a success – jointly created a (very basic) Javascript game and bought a number of things into focus for me.

If you are interested in programming or wondering whether you might like it and you have the chance to attend “A Day in the Life” I would highly recommended. Also, Enspiral Dev Academy have a few exciting projects in the pipeline, so keep an eye out on what they are up to.


Byte Me! New tech / computer club at school

All of this year I have been wanting to start a computer club at school. I teach at an all girls’ school and feel that it is important that there is a space for those girls who are computer geeks! Or at least interested in learning more about everything digital.

So, I finally got around to making a poster and advertising it. Had the first session last week where about 15 girls turned up (plus a few more who emailed as they couldn’t make it). This session was a brainstorm session of ideas of what they wanted to do in the club, names for the club (they come up with Byte Me -which I think is great! Our Moodle site at school is called WGC4me) and how they could contribute to the club. They had heaps of ideas from websites, making games, programming, to guest speakers they would like to get in.

I thought it would be a good idea to start with something interesting but reasonably basic, so the next session is going to be creating a website with HTML. Now the cool thing with this is that as we are a Google Apps school, not only can you use Google Drive to host websites, there is also an app in the Chrome Store called Neutron Drive, where you can edit your html files and save and your site which is updated straight away! You can also share these files with others!

Screen Shot 2014-05-17 at 8.55.06 pm

Screen Shot 2014-05-17 at 8.56.29 pm

You can easily change the URL that Google Drive creates at the moment but there are some work arounds I found searching on Google. However, with just getting students started I think this is going to be really cool, straight away they can have a site that they can share with others!

I am also using Neutron Drive to create and host the Byte Me website. It is going to be very basic to start with as I want the development of it to be a collaborative project that students in the club take on. Exciting!

So, what do you think? Any comments?

Also, are you a woman in the IT / digital industry that would be keen to be a guest speaker? Are you someone who could run a session in something?



Connect – putting the pieces together

Connect – putting the pieces together, a conference for Technology educators.

A technology conference for all aspects of technology, from design and visual communication to food technology! And everything in between.

First day of the conference, opening speech and keynote.

Celia Wade-Brown – opening speech

Interesting point – The weightless economy – 

“A term to describe a post-industrial economy that relies on information technology and telecommunications to produce high value output of exchangeable information, knowledge and other intangible goods. Information-based output contributes an increasing percent of gross national product and offers both emerging and developed economies a high potential for growth.”  BusinessDictionary.com

Monday morning – keynote speaker Bernadette Casey, The Formary

www.theformary.com   Transforming waste through good design  @TheFormary


Starbucks and re-using their coffee sacks – Wojo, Rice straw – China. Global view point – crops for textiles only? Is that sustainable? Ikea do not see cotton as a sustainable product.

What are the future skills that students going out into industry need?

Three main influences for the near future: :

  1. solar revolution
  2. end of fossil fuel dependency: Sweden – fossil fuel free by 2020
  3. vast leaps in technology – interconnectedness

Three main areas / disciplines that need to have a strong focus – science, understanding systems and developing skills.

Industry is crying out for scientists – need to re-frame science. Make it a ‘sexy’ subject. The industry (technology / textiles industry) are reliant on scientists. Perhaps communication about science needs to change.

Why are there so many designers and lawyers graduating from university? Why isn’t there a commitment to science?

How can tertiary education and the jobs needed in the market place be aligned?

Learning another language is a huge advantage when in business and is vital in helping the export community.

Students being able to understand systems – food systems, supply chain systems etc.


Learning skills at school is as equally important as  “getting an education” or learning knowledge.

  1. problem solving skills – needs to be taught more in schools, large component of business, thinking outside of the square, look at problems in a different way, out of the box, can be limited by things like budgets etc, limitations can create and enhance creativity
  2. resilience – “keeping going even when things are looking dark, accepting that reversals are normal, remembering that human nature is, in the end, tough not ??others with your fears”. Vitality important.
  3. cooperation – has become more connected, more global.
  4. optimism – success – personal – achieved through their own effort, permanent – able to be achieved again

Industry needs more optimistic problem solvers!!