Sometimes there are moments that bring you back in time to reflect on your teaching practice, and a visit to YRDSBs Quest Conference this week certainly did that for me. Brian Aspinall @mraspinall was mentioning his early efforts in coding with kids in a club that he started while he was a University student in 2005.
During the 2004-2005 school year (it actually may have been after the May ECOO 2003, although my memory escapes me), I began using MicroWorlds Jr Logo with my Grade 2 students as a result of being introduced to it by people who had been on board with programming with children since at least the 70’s. Whoa! I had some background to catch up on and began to learn and read about the giants behind this educational reform.
Beginning my Master’s degree at OISE in 2003 led me to inspiring people like Clare Brett, Jim Hewitt, Earl Woodruff, the work of Seymour Papert and the notion of constructionism. Being an ECOO member and attending the 2003 annual conference led me to meet inspiring people like @peterskillen who got me started with MicroWorlds Jr, @garystager, Karen Beutler @kbbeutler, @dougpete, @andyforgrave and Mitch Resnick, all of whom had been programming with kids for ages! I was WAY behind and knew it! My first workshop for teachers in 2005 was my effort to share what I was learning from this amazing community of educators who had sparked my passion and who were teaching me about new ways of teaching that suited my desired classroom culture: inquiry and student-driven project based learning. Coding became another way to engage students in the authentic application of math skills already at play in my classroom: art, music, building things and cooking, to name a few.
There was no problem connecting coding with my curriculum, as you’ll see in the slides below. Computational thinking was not a term I was using back then, but it’s interesting to look back and see connections to cross-curricular authentic applications of Math, as well as references to teacher-student co-learning and what we would now call global competencies or 21st century skills, especially in the areas of problem-solving, creativity, collaboration, inquiry and learning to learn.
My biggest advice to teachers, in this time where many voices are telling us that we must have coding put into the elementary curriculum, would be to take the freedom you are given with our Ontario curriculum and innovate your own examples to go along with overall expectations! I’m so glad that I didn’t wait and many other teachers like the ones at Quest and ECOO (BIT) are not waiting either. Don’t wait….Innovate!
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I’m a big fan of using Siri on my iphone and have been ever since I began using speech to text software with students in about 2006. Boy, has the technology improved since then! I now use it to create … Continue reading
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It was great to visit the York School this week to attend #MakerEdTo. This was a fantastic opportunity to connect the #iicti AQ course members to a network of educators interested in constructivist and constructionist uses of technology. An added … Continue reading
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About 28 years ago, I remember taking some Saturday cooking classes with my Mom. We played around learning to make pastry with techniques and recipes that I still use today, and also played around with a little bit of bread … Continue reading
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This week I had the honour to be invited to contribute to a panel of amazing people at the recent Think Tank session from CECCE, one of Ontario’s French School Boards, along with well known thinkers about transforming educational environments. … Continue reading
Creative Commons is not a new concept, and many people have been aware of its existence for some time, as well as the need to credit the work of generous people who offer to share their creations with us. It’s also great when something comes along that makes it a little easier for media creators to cite the work of the original author.
While talking to my brilliant colleagues Jac Calder and Peter Skillen recently, I learned about an online tool to make citations within Flickr, a fabulous source for images, even easier!
This beta site was developed by John Johnston and it allows you to choose a flickr image and, with the click of your mouse, have the citation of the original owner placed on the image which you can then use in presentations or other media that you are creating. I usually teach students how to use an online photo editor for this purpose, but this removes a step and makes things a bit easier for students, without removing the understanding and diligence involved with acknowledging the original author of the work.
We’ll have to get this added to the OSAPAC resource about Digital Citizenship — it would be a great addition to the resources section under Creation and Credit!
Join Peter Skillen and me in a collective, month long, discussion to:
- extend and deepen our understanding of the term learning
- participate in a knowledge building approach to collaboration
- model deep practices for our professional learning environments (colleagues and/or classrooms)
Brief Description (see full site for details)
We will spend the month exploring, unpacking, and discussing what we mean by the term learning. This will include:
- building background knowledge through sharing and reading resources related to the topic
- introductory Twitter Chat
- co-creation of a slidedeck of our ideas
- reflective Twitter chat
- contemplative rewriting of our slides
- culminating creation of reflection statements
We will use a knowledge-building approach to this event.
“If Knowledge building had to be described in a single sentence, it would be: ‘giving students collective responsibility for idea improvement‘. In Knowledge Building, students work together as a community to build and improve explanations of problems of understanding that arise from the group itself.” (We will be the students in this project!)
So please join us! Go to What Do We Mean By Learning Anyway? for all the details to get started!
Peter Skillen & Brenda Sherry with the support of OSSEMOOC