Monday, 30 May 2016

Week Three: Teaching to Code

As with previous posts, please click on the screenshots from Google Classroom to view them properly. The third week of the learning design sees delegates completing their programming challenge - in reality they have covered all the new programming skills they will need by this point. It also deepens the discussion of strategies and aims to engage the delegate in reflecting on how "if I were in the class I am preparing, which of these strategies would have helped me."

It is a more intensive week as there is more resource material shared, although most will only become useful in the following weeks.


Stage one is the invitation to the online conference. Compared with previous weeks this session can be more free-flowing and conversational. Delegates will be part way through programming their game and will primarily benefit from exploration of things that typically go wrong with Scratch programs (and how to resolve them) and recapping, whilst sharing their own program with the group and discussing the problems they have encountered.


In the 2-3 days after the conference delegates need to finish their Scratch programming and move on. Even if any fail to complete the task, the tutor will need to encourage them to reflect on what they have accomplished and engage with the relatively simply follow up was below.


This task provides the delegates with some resources to read and review, that will hopefully make far more sense now that they have discussed strategies to plan for lessons.

The Angry Birds example is a sample lesson based on code.org that illustrates the use of activities away from the computer. The Storyboard is a staple approach that will be familiar to the teachers from other subject areas and is equally useful here - although they will hopefully be able to share their own or create a better one themselves.  The Scratch Materials folder contains an example pupil workbook and all the materials needed to make cards that can be used for planning, for group activities and for displays.


To build on that, delegates are asked about the particular strategies they have selected, in particular as routines for every lesson.


Towards the end of the week we have a short activity asking delegates to start to consider how they could apply all of this in an area outside the "learning computing silo." This is an important first step in making clear that teaching to code is not a special case, that the skills and experience the teacher has all count here, and that ultimately programming can embed into all their other curriculum planning.


The end of week reflection is more demanding, now asking the delegate to engage in dialogic reflection, going beyond recounting what happened during the week, and considering what made the things that went well go well.


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