Today, the Kodable Tour stopped in Greater New York, where we visited two awesome schools that shared with us all the progress they have made in their coding curriculum. Oh yea..and they helped us learn a few things as well. :)
First Stop: Highland Falls Intermediate School
What we learned: bugs happen; it’s okay to talk about them.
We used the web version of Kodable during our first session with Kristen Magyar, and discovered an issue with the way the cursor was appearing on their desktop computers. The graphics cards were having issues rending the cursor correctly and there was a bit of a lag. Naturally, the kids clicked furiously in an effort to get the mouse working correctly.
This was a great moment to have a discussion about bugs, why they happen, and how we can react to them. After talking about the bug, students showed great patience and everything worked well. We were fortunate to have a few iPads available as a back up for the students who didn’t want to continue with the issue.
When the second group came in, we talked about the bug with them before they got started. This made things work much smoother and they showed great patience while working with the issue.
Take away – If you discover a bug, talk with students about it. Turn what could be a stressful situation in to a learning opportunity. You can model patience and good trouble shooting behavior for the students, as well as discuss it with students to prevent impatience before it starts.
Favorite Moment: I had a great conversation with the 5th graders at Highland Falls Intermediate School about creating an app, how to get started, and some other technical questions.
It was a lot of fun to discuss this with them, and see their eagerness and excitement at the idea of creating technology for others to use.
The future: Kristen Magyar and the team at Highland Falls are moving more into coding next year. She already has students thinking about vocabulary with words like “loops” and their definitions written all around her lab. The principal is very supportive as the technology team begins increasing the amount of coding done at Highland Falls.
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After a quick lunch, we scooted over to Lakeland schools to visit Linda Brandon.
Second Stop: Benjamin Franklin Elementary
What we learned: Smooth Transitions – brought to you by explanations.
When you go in to someone’s classroom it is a lot like visiting someone’s home. I feel a bit like I’m imposing, and want to be polite and do things “their” way. This always stopped me from being decisive about how to transition from a lesson to iPad time. Every class has their own way of handing out the iPads and giving sign on instructions. However, it usually ends up getting a bit chaotic if I don’t review how to get signed on to Kodable with the students.
On this trip, I’ve learned I can ask a few review questions before saying the magical word (iPad) that sends everyone in to frenzy and make the lesson-to-iPad transition go easily. They’re listed below, and work like a charm!
What app will we be using? (Kodable)
What does the icon look like? (Yellow with a blue fuzz)
What do we do when Kodable opens? (Press play)
Do we press play if we don’t see our name on the play button? (No)
How do we switch? (Press the button with people on it “Switch Profiles”)
What do we press next? (Our class name)
What do we press when we see the list of names? (Our name)
Favorite moment: It’s always fun to see how much students learn in a small amount of time during our coding sessions, but to people who haven’t seen the power of coding with a live class of students it can really have an impact. There were a lot of visitors in our session at Benjamin Franklin. People from all over the district were there to learn and watch our session. I loved seeing the recognition of how much learning was happening when “playing” coding.
Thanks to Linda for creating this awesome Animoto!
The future: Everyone in the Lakeland school district is interested in coding. It was wonderful to see so much support coming from district administrators. People came from a variety of schools and positions to watch our sessions, and were eager to learn more about implementing coding.
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What a day! Keep reading to learn more about our adventures on Day 6. :)