Mr Kemp

The Key to Coding – Part 2

Kim%20VernonToday’s blog is a guest post from the amazing Kim Vernon, who blogs at www.missICT.com. Kim is Head of Integrated Technologies for Infant students at Tanglin Trust School, Singapore. Originally from Sydney, Australia, she has been teaching overseas since 2008. Kim is a Google Certified Teacher and has a Master of Education. She has recently begun to share her knowledge and skills by speaking at regional and international conferences. For more, follow Kim on Twitter.

Welcome to part 2 of 2 of my blog on the ‘key to coding’. In Part 1 I looked at the foundations of coding and why it’s important, to review that post just click here.

As an early years educator, my focus is always on young learners, however I find the skills and tools often cross over multi age levels.

With the understanding of why, links made to learning and the theory in place, it leads me to the next steps. Always remember that the tool, whether digital or not, enhancers the experience. In other words, don’t rush straight to scratch without knowing what the benefits are to using that tool. With problem solving, logical thinking and collaboration covered in my last post, I’d like to add another ‘why’ before we look at the right tools for implementation.

Creativity – I look at this from the students point of view not the teachers. As a teacher, you can exhaust yourself thinking of ideas that are outside the box, but why? Why not place this element on the students? Even our youngest learners have creative minds. By posing a problem and asking them to solve it, it is your first step. The ‘what if’ questions are perfect for getting students to think creatively.

Ask any computer programmer what excites them and they’ll talk about the excitement they feel in creating things and that feeling when they successfully build something. It is only right for us to place computer programmers in the same creative group as sculptors, writers and painters. For our students, computer science allows students to explore, create, and flex their imaginations. Whether it is through Mathematics, Science, Art, P.E. or even Dance, creativity must be at the forefront of our lessons.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Albert Einstein

The ‘tools for the trade’ are a must to bring out the skills of any computer scientist. Working within early years education, I can share with you some of the tools I use to bring the problem solving, logical thinking, collaboration and creativity together. Understanding input and output reactions is the first step for young learners. The frustration they display when their remote control toy doesn’t do what it should and the process they embark on to correct it is enthralling.

Remote control cars – We use these from the TTS-Group Rugged Racers

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Bluebots – A great ‘step up’ from beebots. Allowing for iPad integration and challenges to be set.

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Romo – Romo has brought a level of excitement to our CS programs that we never expected. By using Romo within our Science curriculum, we have programmed him to solve issues on Mars and to collect data from our class volcano!

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Sphero – Sphero has also been great in our science program, particularly when using it within our forces unit. The nubby cover offers an alternative surface for comparisons within investigations.

Lego WeDo – There is nothing more satisfying than watching young engineers and programmers at work. With extension kits available you can move students quickly away from the foundation theory and into creative mode.

Daisy the Dinosaur – An app that lays the foundation for sequencing of instructions. Young children need concrete tools to understand sequencing and this app gives them that opportunity in a fun and engaging environment.

Regardless of the tool your students choose, always remember the ‘why’ and the foundations that can be laid through engaging activities. My focus is Early Years Education so I’d love to hear what tools you use with your students regardless of age.

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Craig Kemp

Craig Kemp

I am a passionate Head of Educational Technology at a large International School in Singapore. I am a lifelong learner, dream creator and thought leader. I love to inspire others and find inspiration. Co-founder of #whatisschool, #asiaED edchats and #pubPD.

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