Day 8 (of 186) #T(ec)hursday
I have long been an advocate for “technologization” – the blending of technology and curriculum to enhance the Learning that occurs within learning communities. Finally today I found the right name for it (after listening to great ideas around Wonder/Walking Wednesdays, Freaky Fun Fridays etc) #T(tec)hursday – and it got my students thinking….especially since most of their ‘natural habits’ when they go to the computer lab is ‘free time games’. I prefer some “guided free time” having used Friday Math Games as an approach to reinforce basic skills for over a decade……
But I want my learners to embrace a “coding state of mind”. This isn’t always easy – because it can feel scary. “Coding” often makes people think of people spending hours in dark rooms (aka basements) while making games. And true enough that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak did exactly that to make games like Breakout on their way to starting the Apple Universe – learning that the ‘smaller’ the code, the more money/space saved…. in fact, I used this same approach when I took a ‘detour’ (before my class started some coding stations) and took a new tool: Primo Cubeletto to a Grade One class.
I’ve made a quickstart guide to get tech-nervous teachers started – Primo QuickStart Guide – with the Cubetto
What I liked about this tool is that:
a) it is focused on story – with an emphasis on touching Cubetto (Cubey) before starting off
b) there are a variety of stories (and story mats) for students to explore with
c) it really feels like the old LOGO Turtle (in fact in “Cubettos First Day At School” its teacher is Mr Turtle!
It allowed me to take the students on a journey where we could group-code a path for Cubey to take (to go the castle, to avoid water etc) and when we made a mistake (right or left turn) it was easy to swap out the command button and restart.
d) it also allows me to think about the idea of “shorter code” (used by Steve & Steve) by introducing “subroutines” <– and similar to what we know about numeracy, when we introduce the ‘right’ vocabulary, meaning is understood and not ambiguous (such as greater/lesser than vs “alligator faces”) and “works” for learners of all ages!
Then we got to explore some coding stations – I wasn’t able to get all of my “favourite” centers yet (esp Lego Architecture), but we also had some new ones to explore:
- Cubelets: Cubelets QuickStart Guide
- Puzzle (design your own puzzle to cut out)
- Sensory Station (I have a bin with kinetic sand, lego, etc for students to explore for future use)
- Laptop – an iBook (still working!) with a look at an old nanosaur game
- Keva Blocks – always amazing to use for design thinking and building
- Laptop 2 – an old MacBook Pro to explore Minecraft
- Primo (see above – I did the story intro early in the day)
- Soduko (with some of these paper-tasks, I have them slipped into plastic covers to use & reuse with erasable markers
- Ozobots: Ozobots QuickStart Guide (we are going to use these more in the next week!)
- Laptop 3 – another old MacBook Pro to explore Garageband (which I think works better on iPad now, but I don’t have an iPad for my class…..yet….)
- Secret Code (try to solve a code)
- Sphero SPRK – one of my favourites as it starts as a remote control unit, but scaffolds into coding language to make the droid do tasks)
- Arithmagons (another dry-erase activity)
- Parrot Drone: Parrot Quickstart Guide
- BB8: another robot favourite!
- Graffiti – an old white board to have students draw/write and then others either add to it or destroy it (getting into the collaborative part of coding where others work on top of or delete what you had already done)
- Boggle: looking for words within a grid
With a smaller class, I’m looking forward over the next few weeks to explore how I might be able to implement some badging/gamification into this to help students explore deeper so that they can “level up”!
Looking forward to what the next #T(ec)hursday will look like…..it’s an open house, so maybe an open invitation to bring some tech from home…..wii golf anyone?