Now the serious part.

A fellow colleague, Corrine Owen, shared about her learning experience with coding and the use of Scratch from the developer.  The video encouraged me to not give up hope.  He talked about how his 83 year old Mother even attempted to use it after he shared several Mothers Day cards with her.  At present I am doing this all in one week, but given the opportunities to work with Scratch a little bit longer and allow my creativity to flow, I may even produce some amazing pieces of coding myself. I have a limited knowledge about what coding is and after watching and reading Corrine’s work, I was prompted to dig a little bit deeper about how this would benefit students in our classroom.  The pending Australian Curriculum: Technologies (2013) states in the rationale “the ubiquity of digital technologies provides new ways of thinking, collaborating and communicating for   people of all ages and abilities. A comprehensive education in Technologies provides opportunities for students to progress from creative and directed play through to the consolidation of knowledge, understanding and skills.”  Furthermore it explicitly states in the aims of the Australian Curriculum: Technologies (2013) that students will “investigate, design, plan, manage, create, produce and evaluate technologies solutions.”  The validity of coding and programs like Scratch is strongly supported by several of the achievement standards for various levels in the scope and sequence on the Australian Curriculum: Technologies (2013).

I started out with a negative attitude to coding and how to fit technologies into an already fully crammed curriculum.  However seeing the following YouTube video inspired me.  This is the path our students are going to need to take to increase their chances for employ-ability and it is our responsibility as educators to adopt these practices and introduce our students to coding programs similar to Scratch.  Here’s the YouTube video I was talking about.

Why Our Kids Must Learn to Code.

Digging deeper I found this video that shows a group of people who work with kids outside of school, teaching them coding.

Code for Kids.

This group of people work to help kids to learn and then spread the word to their friends.  I hit Google and searched for Coding for kids and came across a site called Coder Dojo.    This is a global organisation and I even found a group that met about 5km from my home.  There are opportunites for members of the community to get involved by attending a program, mentoring at a dojo or starting your own program.  School across the US and the UK are developing programs in and out of the classroom to encourage students to learn about coding.  Coding for Kids: Schoolchildren Learn Computer Programming is an article written by Jessica Salter (2012) in The Telegraph.  Salter (2013) discusses Code Club established by web designer Claire Sutcliff and web programmer Linda Sandvik at De Beauvoir Primary School in east London.  Likened to Coder Dojo, many schools are offering opportunities for children to get a head start on learning coding. Hour of Code’ to teach kids as young as 5 to program. So, armed with all this information I start to ask myself how can I develop a deeper knowledge of coding?  How will this help me as a teacher?  What are Australian schools doing to incorporate and integrate coding opportunities for our students?  Does Queensland Education block the use of such sites to be used on Queensland classroom computers?  What voice do I have to make this happen and do I have enough knowledge of coding to instigate programs like Coder Dojo into the school where I work?  My journey into understanding coding and using programs such as Scratch has just begun.  I am sure that I have only just skimmed the surface, but it is something that I will be thinking of as I progress through this course. Cheers, Teresa. REFERENCES:

 

Australian Curriculum Assessment And Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (2013, February). Draft Australian Curriculum: Technologies. Retrieved February 24, 2014, from http://consultation.australiancurriculum.edu.au/Static/docs/Technologies/Draft%20Australian%20Curriculum%20Technologies%20-%20February%202013.pdf

Canadians Connected. (unknown). Code For Kids. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnvpqNo5qwA

CNet News. (2013, December 5). Hour of Code to teach kids as young as 5 to program. . CNet News. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDejnYSeEEk

CoderDojo. (unknown). CoderDojo. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from http://coderdojo.com/#zoom=3&lat=48.9225&lon=-35.15625&layers=00B0T

Heninger, M. (2013, March 1). Why Our Kids Must Learn to Code. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STRPsW6IY8k

Salter, J. (2013, November 23). Coding for kids: school children learn computer programming. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from The Telegraph: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnvpqNo5qwA

Not sure if I will ever design a computer game.

Day two of using scratch and today’s activity involved creating a racing car game.  After my several successes yesterday I was determined to give it a good crack.  Little did I know I would be the one to crack.  This program is really hard and has me questioning the effectiveness of using in the classroom.  Already this morning I have been sitting here for 2 hours trying to make my stupid little car travel over the little red line.  It only has two corners to take and do you think I can make it work?  No.  It just sits there and looks at me and goes all over the place.  Nothing I have done is making it work and I’m beginning to question my ability to make Scratch a tool I would confidently use in the learning environment.

It was at this point I did a bit of a Google search and found instructions that were slightly different to the ones in the learning activities provided by my lecturer.  These ones made more sense to me.  I don’t know if it was because they were a more detailed  and had an audio that allowed you to see what was happening as the person constructed their race course.  After a little bit of fiddling and a little more frustration I finally figured it out.  I don’t know if Scratch is a lesson in patience or perseverance, but whatever it is….I am not sure if I can do this kind of stuff.  Thank heavens that this is the beginning of the course and my learning.  Here’s a link to the videos I found in case, like me, you are slowly pulling your hair out with Scratch.  Help to do racing game

Please let me know if the link doesn’t work.  Good luck.

Cheers,

Teresa.

So here we are once again.

Today saw me embarking on my final semester at uni.  Yes it is going to be busy.  Yes I am completely crazy for completing two professional experiences (pracs) in one semester.  But I need to finish this degree for my health and my family.  It has been a crazy adventure and one that I have learned a lot, both about myself and my abilities, as well as academically.

One of my final two courses is a Technology course.  This does involve ICT’s but it’s not just about ICT’s.  This is a new adventure in learning for me.  Technology is a “distinct field of human activity.  It’s about meeting human needs and wants and is influenced by our values and beliefs” (Albion, 2014). So to keep track of what I am learning and the activities that I am participating in, I have dug up my old blog, given it a new name and am about to embark on my Technological discovery.

As I have said before I believe in stretching myself each semester and trying something new.  However I see this course like a brides wedding day.  I plan on having something old (this blog); something new (new technologies that I will be using and learning about), something borrowed (ideas, articles etc that I collect throughout my journey into technology), and something blue (not sure about this one yet, but hopefully it wont be my head from hitting it on the wall so much with all the new technology).

So with all that in mind……meet my Scratch Sprite.  Scratch Sprite

This little kitty has caused me some grief and has allowed me to share in the simple things of drawing a box, a box with a triangle in it and the success of turning that box into a box with a triangle ON TOP of it.  This may not sound like much, but it is to me.  You see I’m what they call a slight technophobe.  However, I embrace technology and all that it has to offer and because I am so stubborn, I will not give up.  I will battle it through until I can make it work. I have only completed a few activities on Scratch so I will post more as I try to battle my way through with this cat.  Just thought I would get the ball rolling with what I have learnt today.

Cheers,

Teresa.