As indicated in an earlier post (see January 11, 2017, "Coding in Third Grade"), VVE students can now use ROBOTS to practice coding! As part of our hAPPy Friday series, Ed Tech Debbie Smith shares about one of the apps that works with our Dash robots -- Wonder App. See her blog post here and check out more lesson ideas here.
Our own VVE fourth graders learned to code the Dash robots using Blockly (another app by the same company). They explored the puzzles to learn how the different coding blocks worked and then had opportunity to create some of their own simple codes.
Students then shared their feedback about coding using our Showbie app. It was a great way to gather a little formative assessment feedback!
Eanes ISD is full STEAM ahead, thanks to some amazing new materials purchased for each school. Each grade level at VVE will be receiving a STEAM cart, replete with materials that allow for open-ended exploration and play. In our faculty meeting yesterday, we reviewed the many aspects of play and the way it can contribute to cognitive, language, social emotional, and even physical development. We reviewed Jerome Bruner's discussions of how play "provides not only a medium for exploration, but also for invention" (1983, p. 61). Further, Bruner states, "There is everything to be said, indeed, for letting the child loose in a decent setting with rich materials and some good cultural models to follow.” (Bruner, 1983, p.63) We engaged in some open-ended exploration and play with several of the materials and are now working to design some STEAM based lessons for students across grade levels. Thank you, Eanes Curriculum & Instruction Department, for sharing these amazing materials with us!
Third graders were so excited to explore coding this week using three different programs. Using our student work-flow app Showbie, students were connected with one online coding program and two apps. Students rotated through three centers: Center 1 focused on the non-profit coding lesson website: studio.code.org; Center 2 focused on the MIT and Tufts University created app, Scratch Jr.; Center 3 focused on coding with the Blockly iPad app and Dash robots. Through each of these centers, students explored coding with visual programming. Studio.code.org uses coding games to teach learners the principles of coding logic using arrows and simple strategies like loops and functions. There are four courses learners can work through, as well as popular media-based games (e.g., coding with Frozen, Angry Birds, Mine Craft, or even Star Wars characters). Scratch Jr uses visual programming blocks and has a more open-ended interface whereby students can program a cat (or other character) to do things on screen. In this app, there is also a feature in which learners can import and build on existing codes. Finally, the Blockly app teaches students to code a Dash robot to move via puzzles, and then allows them to code their own projects to set the robot in motion. Students shared their feedback to the initial exploration via Showbie. We look forward to continued exploration and creation using these programs!
VVE Tech & Learning
Holly Moore, Educational Technologist, shares student learning here, in our Cardinal Community Blog.