Back to School Click


Back to School

This edition of Click discovers how technology is being used in school classrooms and looks at the latest educational games, gadgets and apps.


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Transcript


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This week we are going back to school.

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It's the start of September, and I'm sitting in with Year 10

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computer science at the Brooke Weston Academy.

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This is Mr Chambers, award-winning tech teacher,

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and today we are learning about logic gates.

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Unusually, a lot of this lesson is going to take place in Minecraft.

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So can I ask you to log on to the computers and we will

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Microsoft bought this highly popular game for $2.5 billion back in 2014.

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Since then, behind closed doors, it has been developing a version

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specifically for use in the classroom.

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A couple of months ago, the Minecraft education edition

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started its public beta, offering schools the chance to try

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it out and incorporate it into lessons.

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And because they say that teaching others helps one to learn,

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You put three blocks next to each other.

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Logic gates are the building blocks of computer science,

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things that govern what the ones and zeros do inside your machine.

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It just so happens that the creative building environment of Minecraft

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lets you build and visualise logic gates really easily.

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In fact, all the students here have played Minecraft before,

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and that is the theory behind using it in class.

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What do you think about using Minecraft to do it,

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Because we know, we've all played Minecraft,

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so we are interested to see how we can use it in a lesson.

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I can see why the students have hit the ground running and can

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immediately engage with the game, but what about the teachers who have

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to plan their lessons inside Minecraft?

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There is a big education community out there on the Minecraft education

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website, and most of the teachers are on there communicating with each

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other at the moment and getting ideas, which is great.

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But to pick it up and use it, it is like any tool,

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to be honest, so if you have to use power point, how long does that

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It requires a level of creativity from the teacher, doesn't it.

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It is not just writing things on the white board,

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it is building things in a way that the students can learn from.

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I mean, for example I have seen people who have used it in English

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lessons before, where they have made theatres, so they have talked

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about Romeo and Juliet and got students to think a bit more

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I have seen students in science lessons who have made the whole

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respiratory system as well, and you go in through the diaphragm

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and they have put labels all around the different parts of the body.

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It is not just about that, it is about using the media

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It was ages ago I was teaching to, teaching logic gates to some

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of my students, and one student piped up and said "Sir,

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that is just like Minecraft, why don't you show us that?"

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I said "Yeah, sure it is" and I went away and started playing

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with Minecraft and I saw that there is a connection

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If you listen to them, and you can find that thing that

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engages them, it makes the lessons golden, because the kids want to be

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But it is not only about getting the kids to engage in lessons.

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Giving children a safe environment in which to fail.

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So the game gives you instant feedback, but you are not punished

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Ian Livingstone has been a government education adviser,

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and he is in the process of setting up two new schools which put

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technology, education at their heart.

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His gaming pedigree is almost legendary.

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He co-created the Fighting Fantasy interactive adventure game books,

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and he is a great advocate of the educational value

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Like, for example, roller-coaster Tycoon.

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Games promote critical thinking, problem solving, conputational

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thinking, and I would argue computer science is the new Latin,

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because it underpins the digital world, and where Latin underpinned

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Now I don't suggest for one second that children should be playing

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games all day in class, but they can take principles

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of games-based learning and apply them for context.

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You want the red stone block in the middle.

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Minecraft is a great example of a game that is really popular

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that has been adapted for education, but there are other games that

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Why not, for example, use the out and about gotta catch

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'em all Pokemon Go phenomenon, to engage students with the ideas

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of mapping, geometry and data gathering?

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Could you see that been adapted for educational purposes?

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I mean, there is all the data in there that you could totally use

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for data analysis in your maths lesson, how many steps have you been

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You can start using it into PE lessons to encourage those students

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So it's a case of keeping your ears open and listening to what games

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are out there and just being creative with it.

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Do you think this says that kids should play more games

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Particularly in computer science it works for us,

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because we can teach students about the computer

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But at the end of the day I believe in quality time,

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with teachers, with family, with friends as well,

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so that you are not too immersed in technology and you are aware

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So I think there needs to be a balance.

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Class is dismissed, school is out for today,

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and it is time for these guys to get a screen break.

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Not for us though, we are off to Berlin, where Europe's biggest

:07:10.:07:12.

We will have in-depth coverage on next week's Click,

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but for now Jane Copestake's had an early look inside.

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We are in LG's signature garden gallery, and this year the company

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has commissioned an artist to realise some of the products that

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This is a washing machine, believe it or not!

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The lights that are flashing on the ceiling above me represent

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This high level of design could be masking the fact we are seeing a lot

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of similar products to last year's show, including a whole host

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But this year, the world's first curved laptop

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It has to be the world's largest laptop ever!

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The screen is designed to match the natural curve of the human eye,

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And Acer has released the world's thinnest laptop.

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This is the Swift and it is less than one centimetre thick

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Mobiles continue to have incremental improvement.

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Sony's latest Xperia XZ has added two more sensors to the camera,

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creating triple image sensing technology to help with blurry

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The company also announced a top of the range high res audio system,

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with headphones priced at ?1,700, and a gold Walkman, setting

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It is not targeted at the every day consumer.

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Our engineers really went back to the drawing board to say,

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you know, if cost were not an issue, you know, what kind of ultra premium

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Walkman, head phones and amplifier could we come up with?

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It is a little pricey, but I think the real audiophiles

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will appreciate the sound quality we have packed into it.

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Wearables are every where you look at the show, including

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This feels very satisfying to wear and can be exchanged for a sportier

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Samsung have announced the Gear S3 I am wearing here.

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It is a lot bigger than last year's Gear S2, which is a bit of a shame,

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but it is a lot lighter than I expected.

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We will have much more from IFA next week, including the latest HDR TVs

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Welcome to the week in Tech. Apple has allegedly been paying a small

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fraction of the taxes it should have in Ireland. It was also the week

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that rules concerning the BBC iPlayer changed. You now need a TV

:10:32.:10:35.

licence to watch live or catch up on the service. And the UK got very

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excited about a button, as it finally went on sale here. The

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device allows you to order product at the touch of a button without

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actually leaving the house. And finally, a few weeks ago on Click we

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showed you the world's first music video produced by Artificial

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Intelligence. Now it seems that promo makers may need to fear for

:11:02.:11:08.

their jobs as the world's first cognitive movie trailer is unveiled.

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It exceeds our wildest expectations. Promoting the film Morgan, it was

:11:18.:11:22.

made more less through AI. IBM's Watson analysed 100 trailers and

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then watch the movie, picking the ten best moments which were then put

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together by an actual human to create the final result.

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At what rate in centimetres per second is the radius

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Believe it or not, this is still my recurring anxiety dream.

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Yes, it has been a long time since I've had to do any calculus.

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And back in the day if I had been stuck on a question like this,

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I would have had to have waited until the next day to get some help

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But now I have an app called Yup, which is on-demand tutoring.

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The idea is I take a picture of the question, through the app,

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and then tell it I need a maths tutor.

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And I am promised some help through the phone,

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As he reads my problem he starts to guide me towards an answer.

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Sending me suggestions as to how I can go about solving the equation.

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"You've still missed something here on the part of the area

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He sent me a picture of a calculation he has just written

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Yup is based in San Francisco, but the tutors after being setted

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To date, it is being used by 500,000 students in 182 countries,

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and Yup has ambitions to spread across the world,

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offering lessons in several languages.

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To use the service, students can either subscribe to unlimited

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tutoring minutes for $80 a month or buy a limited

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Mr Reyes has been doing pretty well in guiding me through calculus hell,

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but it has left me wondering how a service like this can make sure

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First we take the students' rating, very similar to Uber.

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We look at how well the student believes the session went.

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That only looks at one thing, that looks at student satisfaction,

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which is important, but we also care about learning.

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So what we do is we have a completely different set

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of tutors, we consider tutor managers, they are more experienced

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tutors with more years, you know, with more credentials,

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who review all our sessions and give the tutors ratings on how well

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As my session progresses, I am genuinely starting

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to remember my calculus, but I am also finding it hard

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to talk maths, equations and symbols in a text message.

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But Yup's founder said he has a good reason for choosing text.

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Students are comfortable chatting with their friends.

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I even joke and say I would rather chat with my mum and my girlfriend

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over a text, than speak to her over the phone.

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So, that is something that is very true about our student base,

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Although I would really prefer a video or an audio call,

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the text conversation is gradually getting me to that answer.

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OK, first of all, Mr Reyes did not give me the answer,

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he helped me to get there, so that is proper tutoring,

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Even at the end, he asked me to go through the steps

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that we went through, to kind of remind myself

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and show him that I have learned something from the conversation,

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It's all a bit awkward over text, but maybe

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We shouldn't dismiss this scene as just child's play.

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Children develop their language skills, emotions and creativity

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through play, and naturally, as technology impacts our lives

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in so many ways, it has affected the toys kids play with too.

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Initially, there was a trend towards kids' versions of grown up

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tech, like this tablet, which is full of kids apps and has

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But now we are starting to see toy manufacturers move towards more

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traditional looking toys, but adding a bit of tech to the mix,

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which is possibly to appease to parents who don't

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want their children having too much passive screen time.

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I have come across a few games that mesh

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These wooden smart letters look and feel like their low-tech

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predecessors, but download the app and a child can learn

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the sounds of the alphabet while still holding an actual toy.

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Some companies have taken this concept further,

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tapping into the trend in teaching kids to code early.

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The Osmos kit connects to an iPad, combining physical keys

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The pattern the kids create with the tiles translates

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into commands that move the bear across the screen.

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It is aimed at kids at three years and above, and it combines wooden

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toys and a play mat with basic coding.

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Now the kids don't need to be able to read or write yet,

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as you select the commands by just choosing different colour pieces,

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and then, at the touch of a button, the robot moves.

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Six-year-old Ethan joined me for a bit of a play.

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I want to go to the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Soon we were trying to figure out how to get to our target.

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He didn't even realise he was learning the basics

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of coding, including creating functions, which means Cubetto moves

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several squares at a time with a single press

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But while I saw him engaging with the kit, I wasn't sure how much

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actual coding was taking place, so I took the toys to a primary

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The Cubetto and the Osmo went down a treat.

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Kids were soon working together to solve problems and were clearly

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I also had a new edition to my selection, the Sphero SPRK.

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The kids instructed to flip, roll, spin or change colour,

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building up to more complex instructions

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I love this idea that they are playing and learning,

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so it is both of those things happening.

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All of the core elements of what they were doing is the same

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things that we teach within Code Club, which is very much

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screen-based interaction, so the ideas of algorithms

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or recipes for instructions how to get something to do something,

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So while they were playing, the core concepts are there,

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Coding is one trend, but another is to keep children moving.

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Mover is a prototype wearable that reacts to movement.

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Today's challenge, to be active enough to make the colours

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Many of these devices provided advanced challenges as you progress,

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which could help maintain this level of enthusiasm even once

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Face to face, that is where we are going.

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And finally for this week, I am joining some more academics,

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this time at the University of Sussex for a rather odd

:20:12.:20:14.

Now I am no expert, but I would call this a bit strange.

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Believe it or not, there is a good reason, a good sciency reason,

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why these musical marshmallows are spraying polystyrene

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Look very closely at their hands, and you will see that that

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particular polystyrene ball is in fact levitating.

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Weird stuff that glows in the dark, even better.

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Someone is going to have to do a lot of vacuuming though, I think.

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This is what was hidden inside the hands

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The beads are being held in midair using ultrasound.

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Each of those black circles is an ultrasound speaker.

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As we have seen before, they can actually move

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light objects, and here, the ultrasound waves they produce

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Well, all of the prototypes in this room are part

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of the GHOST programme, that is Generic Highly Organic

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It is investigating how we might replace our flat screens

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with displays that are a lot more touchy-feely.

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Take this stretchy screen, for example, that could one day let

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you feel the things you're looking at, like this earthquake image

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Then there is this interface, based just around clay.

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And these bendy cubes, that play music.

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These 3-D displays from a host of international universities

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Now the story of 3-D displays isn't just about feeling certain things

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in certain positions, there is information that can be

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gleaned from how things transition from one position to the other.

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Imagine a calligrapher's swoosh as they write a letter.

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That is what this demonstration is for.

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It is copying my movements as I move between one state and another.

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And movement is a big part of this research.

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This project wants to redefine how we think about pixels.

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What if our displays could also become realistic, tactile,

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useable buttons and sliders that you could push,

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This whole idea of 3-D display is really new,

:23:06.:23:14.

so a lot of the prototypes around here have meant that before

:23:15.:23:17.

they can test their ideas, the researchers had to build stuff

:23:18.:23:20.

with loads of wires and loads of mechanics in them.

:23:21.:23:24.

This is an idea that makes prototyping a lot easier.

:23:25.:23:26.

These 3-D pixels are light-sensitive.

:23:27.:23:29.

As you move them towards white they get higher and as you move them

:23:30.:23:33.

So that means you can test out your idea on something as simple

:23:34.:23:42.

as a tablet screen without having to build a huge machine first,

:23:43.:23:45.

only to find out your idea wasn't very good in the first place.

:23:46.:23:48.

The research here is really new, but it may one day redefine

:23:49.:23:52.

It has already given me some new ideas for my dress sense!

:23:53.:23:58.

And that is it for our look at tech in education.

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If you are going back to school or college this week,

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best of luck, have a great time - it never did me any harm after all.

:24:05.:24:08.

Follow us on Twitter throughout the week, why don't you, @BBCClick.

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Thanks for watching and we will see you soon.

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