Nancy López – It teacher
Janine Cervi – Y2 teacher
Clara Gonález – Y2 teacher
Coding For Life
Our coding journey started in March and ended as planned in December with The Hour of Code, a worldwide campaign organized by Code.org dedicated to promote access to computer science around the world. From the start students knew they were going to participate in this special event, and thus prepared themselves throughout the year. On December 4th, Y2 students demonstrated their coding skills as they programmed on a different platform new to them. They were able to transfer the skills learnt in Code Studio to another coding activity specially designed for the event.
Coding Basic Skills
Code Studio stages are organized in such a way that students apply what they learn in previous activities into new challenges. It was very clear to see students’ progress as they moved forward in the platform, and it was even more evident during the Hour of Code when they switched to a new coding environment and were able to transfer their acquired skills.
Coding In The Curriculum
We are excited about the results of integrating coding in the curriculum. By including coding in the Go Green Unit and the Author Study Unit, we observed several benefits.
- Commitment and engagement: Students demonstrated interest and enthusiasm throughout the projects. Knowing the robot would make their final products come alive, made the process more meaningful to them.
- Reading Comprehension Skills: All through the year, students practiced reading comprehension skills as they solved the Code Studio puzzles and the robot challenges. In addition, it helped them to deepen their Literature and English Language knowledge, especially when designing and making Mr. McGregor’s garden as they needed to understand the story fully.
- Art and Creativity: With creativity and imagination students were able to design a futuristic green vehicle that would stand on top of Kibo as well as create a maze fit for the robot. They used different artistic skills in the process.
- Math Skills: Students measured Kibo for different purposes using the skills learnt in math.
- Problem Solving: Students were faced with several instances in which they had to find solutions to different problems or challenges. They worked individually or in groups.
- Spatial Competence: Coding and robotics forced them to use their spatial skills (left, right, up, down, forward, backward, East, West, North, South)
- Sharing their Learning: Presenting their work to a real audience made their learning journey more relevant. Furthermore, as we listened to their conversations and explanations to their families, we realized how deep their knowledge went.
Coding Beyond The Curriculum
As the year went by, children understood the importance of perseverance and resilience as they kept on trying to solve a puzzle. This, in turn, encouraged them to help each other. Here we noticed that students who normally were resistant at sharing their knowledge would help, especially when teachers were not able to help them. As a result of the year’s work, children improved in working independently, respecting routines and following instructions.
“It’s commonly stated that change can be scary (…) After all, there is the belief that change is a gamble – will it work out or will it fall flat? And if the change doesn’t work, will our children suffer? However, progress requires risk – and as the world continues to evolve, so must the way we educate our students. To teachers who are fearful of computer science or coding, I don’t begrudge you that fear; however, I say embrace it.”
Jennie Magiera, Chief Program Officer, EdTEchTeam and Author of Courageous Edventures.
Following Jennie Magiera’s advice, we took a risk this year by incorporating coding in the curriculum. We were aware that risk is a gamble nevertheless, we ventured into this endeavour. The outcome was beyond our expectations. At the Open Day we saw engaged children explaining everything they had learnt to their families and we witnessed their parents honest reaction.
Our experience this year was enriching and gratifying. Our teaching practice was more effective due to the different instances in which the children could put their knowledge into practice in more meaningful ways. Many teachers are already incorporating coding into their lessons making this more challenging for the future. Therefore we need to keep on raising the standard in order to adapt to the new generations. After this experience we will encourage other teachers to take the leap of faith in areas they are not experts.