Nancy López – IT teacher
Janine Cervi – Y2 teacher
Clara González – Y2 teacher
Our Objectives For The Project
Our previous successful experience with coding in 2016 was the diving board to plunge into a new endeavour. We wondered if the cognitive skills learnt through coding could be transferred to other areas and decided to experience coding not as a rather isolated topic, but as an integrated part of the curriculum. Furthermore, we wondered if those skills could be transferred to areas beyond the curriculum. Therefore we embarked on a research-based project to find answers to these questions.
We designed a plan to carry out during 2017 in which we integrated coding into the curriculum. We divided our project into four stages. As we considered this project to be a learning process these phases were deeply connected. This project focused on the development of a digital curriculum as well as fostering creativity and innovation.
Fulfilling Our Objectives:
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 last 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 last 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. We are convinced this project is worth implementing again this year due to its benefits for teachers and students. We are determined to be flexible and adapt the project according to our students’ needs this new year.
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.