Friday, 10 May 2019

MindLab DFI 8 on Computational Thinking

Today's DFI session was held at MindLab in Gisborne. Our deep dive was delving into unchartered territory for many of us, computational thinking (aka coding - which if you were born before 2000's can be a bit of a scary word!) we were told to "Get Brave"... and that we did. 

The computational thinking & coding activity was hands on, physical and really well scaffolded.
First we watched the Josh Darnit video on the Exact Instructions Challenge to give us an idea of how specific and broken down your instructions need to be in coding.

The activity we did in teams where one had to be the robot, tester, and developer started with minimal instructions and we needed to collaborate to problem solve, and gradually becoming harder with less communication other than the 'code', bringing in the concept of 'procedures', and then swapping codes to see if we could 'run' someone else's code. This would be a great activity for learners to collaborate and build resilience, perseverance, problem solving, and a great gateway to coding and understanding the method behind coding.

Next we were introduced to Lightbot. A free online coding tool for learners to practice simple coding skills. This is great for building perspective as watching the bot, you want him to turn right, but from his perspective, he's turning left. Again more problem solving for tamariki, and more opportunities to build efficiencies.

We also had time to explore CoSpaces today, an online tool for coding. Our challenge was to create a story, with characters from the roll of a dice. I rolled 'Vampire', 'Roast Turkey' and 'Leadership' I'm not quite sure if I ticked the leadership box but have a look at the scenario I coded in our 20 minute timeslot. Hint - click the skier, and the champagne bottle. 

I'm keen to see what the team  thought of today's session and how it has improved their practice and workflow, what connections they've made from computational thinking to their own learners and contexts. For example Joanne, who teaches New Entrants has thought of how to adapt the mornings activity for her class. 

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