Simple app development for Technologies teachers (Hagley Tasmania Nov 2018)

In this session we’ll look at developing a simple mobile app.

The theme of the app will be safety in the Technology learning area. In particular, within the Food Specialisation context of the Design and Technologies subject.

This will focus on knife safety, but it could just as easily be based around tool safety in any of the D&T contexts – power tools, farm equipment, agrochemicals, chainsaws, hand tools etc.

Normally we’d begin with a Design Process activity to help identify the requirements of the product (the app). However given the time constraints we’ll jump straight into developing an app based on a structure that will be provided to you. I should admit that this design is not meant to be exemplary, but I’ve cheated a bit so we can see how a range of different features are implemented.

We’ll use the Thunkable platform as it’s free, it will run on just about any computer and its app “host” lets students test their app on iPhone or Android phones. It also avoids the need to get a developer account.

The resources are:


App creation resources list and instructions

Safety Sign – photo

Knife Types – photo

Kitchen Knife – photo

Cutting Board – photo

Knife Technique (Claw Grip) – photo

Knife Technique (Handle Grip) – photo

The Thunkable template is at and is called Knife safety – narrated version. You will need to be logged in to Thunkable to open that link. When it does open, you will have your own copy of my template to remix – this saves a bit of time.

Key programming concepts we’ll address:

  • Pilot/Navigator programming
  • modify before create
  • moving from visual block coding to conventional text based scripting
  • objects and their properties and methods
  • asset files – images, video, etc as files that exist in their own right and are explicitly included in a program, as distinct from images pasted into a Word or Powerpoint document
  • variables – the how and why
  • data structures – simple lists and list indexes/indices 🙂
  • remixing and sharing code.








TEXT VERSION OF THE RESOURCES LIST AND INSTRUCTIONS (for those unable to read the document at the link above)

Resources for app creation workshop

Images – all labelled for non-commercial reuse

Safety sign


Cutting board

Knife types

Cutting technique claw

Structure of app

Headings relate to screens, red text is what we’ll copy to the appropriate part of the app.

  1. What is safety?

Relates to safety issues that students may encounter in their daily lives, assessing risk, making safe decisions and behaving in ways that protect their own safety and that of others. It includes making safe decisions that keep people healthy in situations and places such as school, home, on roads, outdoors, near and in water, parties, online, first aid, relationships and dating, and personal safety. Children and young people will seek out risks elsewhere, in environments that are not controlled or designed for them, if a play and physical activity provision is not challenging enough. Important learning can take place when children are exposed to, and have to learn to deal with, environmental hazards.

  1. Safe use of knives


  • always cut away from any body part

  • never try to catch a falling knife

  • never toss a knife to anyone

  • always hold it by the handle if possible, never by the sharp side of the blade

  • carry knives pointing downwards

  • cut on a stable surface

  • never rush

  • always look at the blade and its path while cutting, never at a workmate or anything else

  • comply with safe storage and disposal procedures, and

  • sharpen and maintain blades.

  1. Knife Technique

How to hold the knife. Good knife skills start with holding the knife properly. Pinch the blade of the knife where it meets the handle between your thumb and first finger, then wrap the rest of your fingers around the handle. (Do not lay your first finger across the top of the blade.) This position will give you the most leverage and control as you cut and dice. It might feel a little awkward at first, but if you keep practicing holding your knife this way, it will quickly start to feel natural. Watch the video at to really see how this is done.

Use “The Claw” to protect your other hand. Be sure to protect your other hand as you cut: use “The Claw” position. Curl the fingers of your opposite hand into a “claw” and rest just the tips of your fingers on top of the ingredient you’re about to cut. Tuck your thumb in; your wrist should be parallel to the cutting board. As you slice, move your fingers back, still keeping this claw formation. If your knife slips as you cut, it will hit against your knuckles or fingernails, protecting you from a serious slice.

Stabilize your cutting board. Last but not least, stabilize your cutting board by placing a rubber mat or a damp paper towel underneath. This will keep it from slipping as you cut, helping you work more quickly and safely.


  1. Injuries


Injuries to your hands, fingers or legs may occur when they’’re in the way of the blade, when the blade slips, or if an open blade is handled unexpectedly.

Workers who handle sharp edged objects (for example, sheets of steel or glass in the manufacturing industry) are also at risk of cuts.

Types of knives

Reflections on ACCE2016 conference (Brisbane, Sept – Oct 2016)

  • The acceptance of online courses as a formal professional learning approach for teachers appears to be more mainstream in some other States than in Tasmania. While DoE offers online courses, the traditional face to face model appears to be more mainstream. For example 2,500 Qld teachers have engaged with their “Developing our Teachers in STEM” online PD, with another 1100 about to start.
  • National support for the Australian Curriculum Technologies curriculum (and in particular the Digital Technologies curriculum) is already strong and there are more initiatives on the way such as additional MOOC professional learning, a national technology loan scheme and a set of coding competitions. Tasmanian schools will benefit from the nationally-developed resources, and schools should include these resources in their planning for Digital Technologies.
  • A number of sessions at this event highlighted the value of collaboration between education systems/schools and other organisations such as museums, universities and schools in other countries. While many schools do indeed engage in such activity there seems to be potential for this to be systematised or at least supported and promoted formally by the agency.
  • Many of the people and organisations working in digital technologies in education make their materials available through open licensing. This approach is being implemented across DoE and should allow us to more readily contribute to a growing collection of knowledge, research and resources while also drawing on the work of others. Highlighting this value and the philosophy behind it would be strategically useful.
  • Workforce development for supporting Digital Technologies implementation is an emerging issue. Many universities no longer offer a computing specialisation in their teacher preparation degrees (due to low enrolments), and jurisdictions are looking at alternative models to prepare existing teachers to deliver this curriculum.

CSTA Day 2 AM- K-5 courses.


Josh Caldwell from code.,org, Kiki Prottsman (Kiki vs IT) and Evelyn Zayas tweet at @teachCode, #CodeorgPD The complete Course 1-3 curriculum book is located here: Course 1 – non-readers Course 2 – readers ( ) You will find helpful … Continue reading