Posted in 21st century learning, tech, Tech Club, Technology, tagged Code.org, coding, coding with kids, Hour of Code, Makey Makey, MIT, Ozobot, Scratch, Scratch Jr, Tech Club, technology, technology and education, VSB, VSB learns on January 10, 2017|
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The Tech Club meets each Thursday at lunch in the library to play, learn, and explore technology in various forms. Annie Simard, grade 4/5 French Immersion teacher and previous Tech Mentor, and I have talked about Tech Club for awhile and finally launched it this year. Tech Club is a great way to engage keen and curious students with hands-on, experiential learning. The kids love to play and so do we!
But in a school so big and diverse, where did we start? We decided to invite teachers with students grade 4 and up to submit the names of two kids who would be interested in playing with technology one lunch hour a week. We mentioned that the club was a good opportunity for many learners, not just the ones who excelled at everything. So we called our first meeting and started off easy – with coding.
Many classes having just completed Hour of Code the week before, we keen to try their skills again using this fantastic site. Free, easy to use, and usable on iPads, Hour of Code offers video game style coding activities based on pop culture, such as Star Wars, Minecraft, and Frozen.
From there we jumped to Scratch Jr., the lite app version of Scratch, a free drag-and-drop coding platform from MIT.
And from there we started to play with Annie’s Ozobots, super fun little robots that ‘read’ colour combinations and perform various actions.
Last week we pulled out the Makey Makeys and started experimenting. Makey Makeys are these great little circuit boards that you plug in the the USB port of a computer. Using alligator clips, you can then make all kinds of things into keyboard functions.
Watch the video for inspiration:
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Above, you can see two kids playing with the Frozen game using the library Smartboard. Not only great for demoinstrating and watching the instructional videos, the Smartboard was also fun to code on. Such a big screen and easy to move the blocks around. Most of the kids used iPad minis in pairs and individually. You can also use desktops, other mobile devices, and even paper.
People in my generation grew up learning to code our Commodore 64’s, using Logo at school, and trying to get our games to work using DOS. As such, our generation had experience with coding, but kids these days, well with slick operating systems, they often have no exposure to coding at all. This is the second year I’ve participated in Hour of Code at Strathcona, having first heard about it from our fabulous Tech Mentor Annie Simard. I can’t wait to try it again. Hour of Code is a great introduction and a fabulous thing to do with your kids at home or in class.
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