screenshot_09062013_114312During the summer break I set my self the challenge of learning to be a Developer. After all we are asking teachers to learn this skill, so it was a case of ‘practice what you preach’ . My starting point was to find a coding package to learn. That was easy, there are so many free resources available, so I choose Touchdevelop . Next , I needed some help. I found on the Touchdevelop site a series of helpful tutorials and courses and also a couple of names I recognised from the Partners in Learning Network, David Renton and Ray Chambers. A few tweets later and I was ready to go. Or so I thought, Ray (@lanky_boi_ray) asked me ‘What did I want to make?’ . That sort stumped me for awhile , but I suspect it maybe something teachers and students also face. ‘What shall I make?’, a game seemed the obvious choice, but I have Kodu for that. Then Ray offered me a piece of advice. He suggested that ‘is there something that you seemly do repeatedly that an app could replace?’ This was a great start to my thinking, and I quickly found and activity where I spend a lot of time emailing lists of links of free resources, this could be replaced by an App.

So during my holiday instead of reading, I coded! On my Surface RT I might add. As I worked through my plan , I discovered different techniques and you will probably see some of these in the App. I have purposely left it ‘hobbyist’, hoping that it will inspire people that learning to code is not the difficult task they might perceive it to be and they too can get an App in the Windows Store after three weeks of learning. I can’t lie to you, I feel quite proud of myself.

So what does the app do?

The App is a simple menu interface that links the many free resources that not just Partners in Learning has, but have been produces by the whole Microsoft UK Education Team.

The app is like a ‘one stop shop’ for these resources. So you will find

  • Resources to support Computer Science
  • Windows 8 E- Books
  • A list of Free Win 8 Apps for Education
  • Links to our Education Blogs, Slideshare, Youtube Channel
  • and even links to the blogs of our Rockstar teachers who share their best practice and resources.

You can download the App for free at the Windows Store

I would welcome any comments and feedback on this App. I will be updating it regularly, now what shall I try next?

Thanks to Ray Chambers and Dave Renton for their support and inspiration.