Coding Rockstars in Switzerland “rock” Code Week Europe 2014

 

CodeEU Week in Switzerland 2014

CodeEU Week in Switzerland 2014

 

This is what happens when a number of passionate teachers with bold, risk-taking, learner-mindsets about technology get together to plan a joint-schools event 😉

If it’s too cumbersome scroll through the frames window below, you can go instead to the full webpage on Storify.

 

About Vivian

Vivian @ChezVivian is a Canadian-born Chinese, currently living in Switzerland. She has also lived in Hong Kong and Indonesia. She holds a M.S. (focus: Educational Technology Integration), B.Ed and a B.A. and graduate studies in Kodály and Orff music pedagogy. She is an elementary school classroom generalist, but has also taught as a music specialist, ESL/EAL and also in Learning Support. Most of her teaching career was in International Schools in Hong Kong. She is excited about the IBPYP and the possibilities of using technology to Inquire. Recently, she has been looking at the opportunities that computer programming gives to put #TECHXture back into the hands of children. In other words, technology need not be just about looking at screens. It can be about building things with our hands; and computer programming levels-up what children can do with the things they build---encouraging higher thinking skills. She is a Coetail Post-graduate Certificate grad ('13-'14), a former Coetail Coach and one of the co-founders of #CoetailChat. Her blog home chezvivian.coetail.com curates her assignments for Coetail and her M.S. graduate studies about Educational Technology integration and anything else educationally-related that she feels inspired to write about. Her twitter tagline sums it up: "Mom to 4, Mentor, Educator, Musician (in that order)".
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3 Responses to Coding Rockstars in Switzerland “rock” Code Week Europe 2014

  1. Reid Wilson says:

    Vivian:

    This is so awesome! I see that you have continued on the coding path and have taken it to new actionable levels. I admire you for that. This year, I have set aside a time every two weeks to introduce the basics of coding in semester 1, and then will turn them loose with greater exposure the second semester once the basic concepts are matured.

    My main hesitation right now is giving them opportunities to code that can be transdisciplinary in nature. So, I’m going to practice being a “modern teacher” in my lack of knowledge and ask you, “How are you taking the inherent value in coding and brining in some sort of unit connection?”

    I’d love to hear about more examples of what you and other trail-blazers around the world are doing to embed coding in the literacy or unit of inquiry curriculum.

    Thanks as always for your inspiration. You’re a rockstar.

    Best,
    Reid

    • Vivian says:

      Hi Reid

      Thank you for your compliments. I keep liking your work and wishing I could have written/done what YOU have. Guess the energy is going both ways 😉 I wish I could have made that “Modern Teacher” infographic! I wanted to write a blogpost about the differences between expert mind-set and learner mind-set for the longest time.

      After one semester of the coding club, my kids are already ahead of where I am. I’ve done the coding puzzles, so theoretically I should be somewhat knowledgeable but honestly, I can’t always remember how I answered that coding question the first time. As you know, there are various solutions to every coding question…

      To answer your question, I point back to Mitch Resnick’s video “Let’s Teach Children to Code” https://www.ted.com/talks/mitch_resnick_let_s_teach_kids_to_code

      His idea is that children not “learn to code”, but “code to learn”… So, I remember this when I feel guilty that I’m not being the “fount of all coding knowledge” for the students. I see the goal, as elementary school teachers, is to give them the skills to “code to learn” (and not learn to code). It would be very difficult to do the latter, unless we had a computer science background.

      What does helping kids to “code to learn” look like for me? It means giving them the basic foundational skills of coding. It means giving them the resources to find the answers to their questions, as I certainly don’t want them to be limited by MY LIMITS. Then, it means giving them opportunities to show their learning through coding. That would be Scratch programming then, as Scratch is open-ended. Kids can make pretty much anything they can imagine with Scratch.

      So, in the curriculum, whenever children need to show you their learning, give the ones that have basic Scratch coding skills, the OPTION of showing their learning through coding. So, if you want a poster, let the kids that want to make their poster with Scratch do it (It will be a digital poster, of course). Same for diorama, video, poem, music, a piece of writing. Anything the kids can do in “real life” that can be replicated through Scratch coding, they should have the option. The students will be coding to learn (and also learn coding along the way in a “just in time” manner). Now, that means these students are doing double duty. They are fulfilling the requirements of your assignment, but then they have to code to make it. This releases teachers from the obligation of having to assess the coding. I don’t think I have the abilities to assess a piece of coding to say it could have been better or if it was amazing… Since students are doing “double duty”, it still needs to be seen how many will chose this option, but maybe they’ll surprise me!

      I’m also slowly collecting a list of computational thinking terms (algorithm, iteration, sequencing, data structures, variables, parameters, functions) when I understand them and it would be good to make parallels between the physical world and computational terms in my everyday speech. For example, “algorithm” means “instructions”. When we teach children how to write instructions, then we can say, “In computers, instructions are called algorithms”.

      I applied to attend the IB Tech Meetings at the Hague as they are planning to map the PYP curriculum to integrate technology into it. I made the case for integrating computational thinking and terminology. I was not selected to be on the committee, but I have been selected to be an “alternate” if someone can’t make it. There were 250 applicants for 8 committee spots, so I feel pretty chuffed to make it to the “alternate” list. The United Kingdom has made it mandatory since September 2014 for students ages 5 and up to study computer sciences which is a separate set of benchmarks than just studying ITC/technology. I strongly suggested that the IB also look at doing this. The committee (as well as myself, though I’m not on the committee…yet) will be looking at the very question you are asking. How do we authentically integrate coding concepts and skills into the PYP curriculum or any Elementary School curriculum? Then, how can we prepare teachers, who don’t know how to code, to deliver it?

      At this moment, all I can suggest is to give our code-able students the option of showing their learning through coding within their regular coursework.

      To get students to that level of ability, it would be afterschool coding clubs.

      On another tangent, did you know there are many “unplugged” ways of teaching computational thinking? Unplugged means students don’t need a computer. https://csunplugged.org/ These are examples of lesson plans to teach computational thinking without the need of the computer. So, I would hazard to say that it would be easier to integrate into another subject you are addressing. When I get a chance, I plan on reading through the unplugged lessons. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make more connections between computer sciences and the rest of the curriculum, after reading it.

      My next adventure is looking at Minecraft EDU. The connections between Minecraft and the rest of the curriculum are more obvious.

      I’ll keep you all posted via my blog regarding any developments.

      Thanks for asking such a great question. My reply should’ve been a blogpost, actually lol.

      So, here you go. Just like your infographic, the modern teacher can’t wait until he/she has all the answers before venturing forth. It will be an adventure, that’s for sure!

      Vivian