Friday, 21 October 2016

Collaborative Coders Project with SET-BC

It has been quite a while since I last posted to this blog, but a new project has given me an excellent reason to start up again. In the spring I applied through SET-BC to participate in a Classroom Based Coding Inquiry. The purpose of the inquiry is to to pilot the use of ‘Coding’ as a vehicle for blending the new BC curriculum with strategies that support all student’s learning.  Planning, training and technology support is being generously offered by SET-BC who are interested in building  the conditions necessary for building capacity in the use of ‘Coding’ within an existing classroom setting.

Our Inquiry Questions:

Language Arts: Will developing a video game for younger (Grade 3 ) students (using authentic tasks to communicate with others, both orally and in writing) give grade 7 students who struggle to complete tasks in Language Arts the motivation to find success?

Math: Will authentic tasks in coding (creating a plaform-style video game) give students an opportunity and motivation to aply math skills key to the new grade 7 math curriculum in BC (adding and subtracting integers and plotting coordinates on a cartesian grid).

Focus on the Core Competencies

Communication: Students will work in partners (a stronger student with a struggling student) taking turns “driving” the mouse and keyboard to avoid the stronger student taking control and to encourage verbal communication. Communication with their younger “clients” both face to face verbally and in writing will also be key component of the project.

Thinking: Creating a full game is very complex and because this may be the first encounter for many students to programming (coding) the game creation will be broken down into manageable tasks for the students. Each programming task will be presented to the grade 7 students as a logic puzzle to solve within a single period.Students will learn how to problem solve by coming up with a plan to complete their desired goal as well as fixing any mistakes (debugging). Procedural thinking and problem solving skills will be honed during the task.

Personal and Social: This game will be developed FOR the younger students and therefore their needs will need to be considered. A large goal of this project is for the grade 7 students to gain empathy for the younger students as well as gain the joy giving their time and talents to create something real and wonderful for someone else. 

A Slight Change in Plans: When I originally applied to participate in the program I was teaching in a grade 7 classroom, but since I have now moved into a district position (Math and LUCID Helping Teacher) the project will now be taking place in my colleague, Mr D’s classroom instead. We make a good team, I have agreed to lend him my experience and expertise in teaching  programming  or “coding” with Scratch and showing how it links to the Math curriculum in exchange for Mr. D’s  passion and expertise in teaching Language Arts.

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