Our Senior Library played host recently to 36 teachers and teacher-librarians from all over Brisbane and the Gold Coast, who came along to learn new ideas for teaching coding and introducing makerspaces into their schools.
The CodeKids PD workshop was run by Reid Moule, a Year 5 teacher, and Victor Bradbury, an eLearning teacher, but the activities could be adapted for any age group. “CodeKids is a professional program created by registered teachers to teach computer science and computational thinking to children aged between eight and fourteen years. It has clear links to the Australian Curriculum strands of Maths, Science and Technology.” (http://www.codekids.com.au) This is particularly relevant in light of the new ACARA Digital Technologies curriculum being introduced into schools in 2016.
After an initial introduction to coding and computational thinking, participants were given the opportunity to rotate around a number of different activities which they could use in their schools:
- making sphero robotic balls move around the room using the Sphero Macrolab app on their iPad or smartphone,
- using hoops and numbered cards to learn the concepts of latency and complexity related to binary coding,
- decoding Magic Cards, a fun activity to introduce binary numbers,
- playing with arduinos (Arduino IDE for laptops/tablets: http://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software and Fritzing: http://fritzing.org/home), raspberry pi and Makey Makey kits, used extensively around the world in makerspaces,
- making electronic circuits with a littleBits electronics kit, used to encourage student creativity and innovation.
All participants really enjoyed the opportunity to play, make, explore and gather new ideas for their own schools, and I’m sure Ms Hunter will now have some extra ideas for our own Year 7 & 8 makerspace, The Lunchbox Club (see also our Lunchbox Club blog).