Day 63 (of 183) Day 2 of #hourofcode
Scary day: kindergartens coding.
Scarier: Grade 4/5s as well….and right after.
I’ve been growing more and more supportive of coding. A big “switch” was reading @willrich45 ‘s Why School? a great book deconstructing minecraft and why it is much more than just an app for kids.
Kinda like coding – it’s MUCH more than hacking in the basement; much more than copying lines of script to create a game. It’s a way of creating.
Part of math? Sure. But in the same way that letters are part of poetry. There’s much more to it – it’s a different methodology of thinking. It’s a transformational method of doing (and different is ….. not always easy to shift towards).
Today I brought our Kindy’s to the “library”. 19 students = 19 stations
and admittedly – ambitious and not always easy. Kindergartens are not used to ‘being set free’ (with some guidelines along the way – such as one per station). But honestly – it worked…..but….I needed more time. The kids needed more time than the limited time I was giving them to explore. but fascinating to see how they also “made do” with limited adult support. Some stations were more “natural” than others (everyone seems to know angry birds!) and others were of greater curiosity: playing with BB8 has been a definite “hook” into having them explore what coding involves.
And then I brought in one of our 4/5 classes (we are a K-5 school). coulda heard a pin drop. honest. I introduced them to the 30 stations (again, one station per student for exploration week – next week will have less stations and starting to build more time to “code” in its various forms).
The feedback was very interesting today. There was a wide selection of “favourite” activities – not just BB8. Kids got makeymakeys to work in less than 90 seconds. And best of all…..(oops…I’ll pick this up further in the post due to the following interruptions)
HIGHLIGHT ALERT: seeing some of the girls really get engaged in exploring with snap circuits and little bits definitely had me connect with my own daughters burgeoning love for engineering. If nothing else, #hourofcode should be commended for putting males & females on the same playing field. Coding is cool and useful and relevant and meaningful no matter what the gender.
Biggest miss was by design: needed more time on code.org to really understand how the game design works. A couple of minutes isn’t enough.
But of course, that’s why we use an ongoing descriptive-feedback-loop. Need more time? OK – next time there will be more explanation (vide0) and more time to explore, make mistakes, and make things work.
best of all (picking up from earlier) was the undirected collaboration that has started to occur with each group. Students helping each other by pointing them in a leading direction from the station they had already been at, and others looking ahead to see what other students were doing to be successful. I’ve seen this before: Back when I was a full-time teacher (not distracted by pvp work!) I had access to what was essentially a 1:1 laptop program. Yep – about a decade ago….yep used macs….yep it was G4 (or as we called ourselves e4 with iLandy) and yep we had an amazing collaborative culture emerge as we used tech more and more. Coding using appleworks (yep – a real thing) and exploring a variety of other tools without direct instruction. Did it work? well – one of the boys who I had do a presentation to the board office about our use of tech (we faked a broken presentation that two of my students “fixed” by whipping out a copy of our class presentation on a first generation iPod touch and a portable projector) recently signed his letter of intent to play hockey at Michigan Tech. Not saying there’s a direct correlation – just saying there might be 😉 (his mom hasn’t denied this and we have stayed in touch via Facebook)
30 stations of 1:1 time – but there’s more than individual work going on; means 1:1 should be more accurately described as 30:30. Semantics or a mindshift….your call.