Sunday, 11 December 2016

'You can Code your own way'

'You can Code your own way' - what Fleetwood Mac may have written if they started out today (try unhearing the word 'code' now when you hear that track...). How we let staff have a go at coding/robotics, do it their own way, and the success of that.

Our final e-learning PLD session this year we used as a taster, to setup thinking for next year. Some of us have been exploring the use of coding in our Options program, and I have recently started using Edison Bots within maths. While we have talked about these things at staff meetings, we have had little this session was designed to let people explore.

As a lead-in we set some 'pre-readings' to get people thinking. We included some Maker Movement stuff from Core Ed, to set the scene in terms of children 'creating', 'building', and 'playing' as a part of their learning. Also, dropped in an Hour of Code promo clip...

Those videos were good, but what this Herald article was a definite winner...1) because it showed NZ kids and teachers using coding and robotics as a part of learning, and 2) because it was 'old' if that was 2 years ago, then we needed to get cracking.

The session started with a massive win...we asked the staff to discuss what learning could come from these technologies, and we heard back from then about developing:
- creativity
- problem solving
- communication
- agency
- collaboration
All things that we have been unpacking and working on as a school, coding etc was seen as a vehicle to teach and develop those attributes.

For the 'playing' part of the session we took the learning approach of...describe the instructions for use with minimal detail, and give them the seed of an activity/idea to follow. We hoped that this would promote discussions between the people working together (trying to figure out how to use the tech), and would lead to creative we didn't prescribe the end result.

In the leadup we were nervous about how staff were going to approach the session, but it was fantastic. people really got into it, and the discussions were great. The outcomes of some of the stations were far more creative than what we had suggested...reinforcing to me that having a prescribed outcome is ot always best.

The slides are embedded below, and include links to useful websites with further ideas.

We ended up showing this clip about iLuminate, the dance crew. I wanted to end by showing that coding really has nothing to do with computers, it is just another tool to develop creativity. The video is amazing, and the amount of probem-solving and collaboration that must go into her works, wow. The video served its purpose, and broke down the barrier for some people...they could see then that coding had application in the arts, in farming, in whatever field of is just another tool to arm children with.

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