[Linux-aus] IWS-Hackathon report

Kathy Reid kathy at kathyreid.id.au
Mon Dec 11 15:57:00 AEDT 2017

Thanks so much Mike for the report.

No-shows at events like this are a common occurrence and in no way
reflect upon the efforts you and your team have made here. Best wishes
for expanding the IWS reach, and on a personal note, thank you for
showing our next generations that science is cool.

Kind regards,


On 09/12/17 00:41, Mike Imelfort via linux-aus wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> I’d like to report back to LA about the IWS Hackathon we held in the
> first week of November. The event was held a few weeks ago, but as
> we’re all so heavily involved in many activities within our children’s
> school (and one of us is a teacher there) we’ve not had the time to
> let you all know about how the weekend went. Well, school’s out in QLD
> today, so there are no more excuses. Let’s get started.
> -- What we set out to do
> Our goal was to kickstart an open, freely available toolkit for the
> IWS that would include teacher instruction, connections to the
> Australian Curriculum, assessment and extension opportunities.
> We planned to have small teams of three or four teachers working
> together to create one or more lesson plans that use the IWS, include
> links to the Australian Curriculum and fit with a theme of work that
> students would typically work with throughout the year (e.g. the water
> cycle).
> -- The event (what we did)
> After a somewhat rocky start to the event (we had a higher than
> expected number of no shows) we managed to pull together a schedule
> that was really quite productive and fun. We changed from being a
> competition to being a workshop and we enlisted our remaining two
> judges who work in the STEM sphere to join in as participants.
> Our participants included representatives from 5 schools, including
> Tully State School in North Queensland, and a representative from
> Griffith University. As it was no longer a competition we decided to
> give away an IWS to each of the participating schools (We budgeted to
> give away eight, so we have enough $$ to give away three more).
> We had two teachers map out an entire semester's worth of work around
> the IWS and two more develop lesson plans suitable for learning about
> and constructing individual components of the system. Clearly, there's
> still a lot of work left to do but we’ve had confirmation that one of
> the participants, a teacher from Mudgeeraba State School who planned a
> semester's worth of work got sign off from her peers and so we should
> expect to see a large influx of workable lesson plans come in from there.
> We're pleased with the outcome and we feel that getting 5 schools on
> board after our first event is a good effort.
> -- What we learned
> Importantly, we need to understand why we had more no-shows than we
> expected. And we need to work out how to avoid that in the future. On
> a more positive note, we learned that teachers are interested in using
> the IWS for more applications that we had originally envisioned. One
> great example of this was a teacher who wants to teach straight up
> biology and use the IWS to enable students to accurately dose plants
> with fixed amounts of nutrients during temporal experiments. We had
> pretty much only been looking at the IWS from a very typical STEM
> perspective; coding, electronics, etc. so we were delighted to have
> this whole new realm of possibilities open up.
> We were not entirely sure how our attempts to hack together a
> hackathon would work, and I think now we have some proof that the
> concept has legs. We learned a lot about working in this space during
> the planning and over the weekend that we'll be sure to use as we
> prepare future events. We’d like to thank LA for their financial and
> other support.
> -- What’s next
> We’re going to concentrate on finalising delivery of the IWS’s we’ve
> promised to give away in preparation for the next school year and
> thanks to LA we even have the resources to make a few more IWS’s which
> we hope to get into some more local and regional schools. We’re
> looking to organise at least two more similar events next year and
> we’re going to start planning for that after the Holiday break.
> Once again, I’d like to thank LA for their support and I hope everyone
> has a safe holiday,
> Mike and the IWS Hackathon team.
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Kathy Reid
Independent digital consultant

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