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Reflecting on NASA Coding for Teachers workshop

Joey Allen breaking down a Scratch game from Mercer Creative Camps

Joey Allen breaking down a Scratch game from Mercer Creative Camps

Over the weekend, we had the opportunity to present a coding for teachers workshop at the NASA Regional Educator Resource Center (RERC) at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins, GA and had a blast!  Our team had a wonderful time coaching teachers on using code.org, Scratch, and maker tools in the classroom.  To the Museum of Aviation, thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this workshop with this passionate and fun community of teachers.

In designing this workshop, I wanted the teachers to have fun and play, learn the basic ideas of puzzle based programming and make connections between common core standards and code.   To help celebrate some of the benefits of making and tinkering in the classroom, I included a few elements of physical computing and digital fabrication.

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makeyMakey

 

 

Interested in attending this “Coding for Teachers/Parents” workshop?   We’re offering this workshop again!

Topic: Coding for Teachers and Parents
Where: SparkMacon MakerSpace in Macon, GA
When: Feb 20th from 1pm to 5pm
Cost of the class is $25.
Be sure to register today as seats are limited:
http://www.sparkmacon.com/product/coding-for-teachers/

 

During the workshop retrospective, the teachers shared the following positive elements of the workshop.

  • The teachers enjoyed getting to play games and tinker. In the second half of the workshop, we did some detailed tutorials on scratch.mit.edu.   The teachers enjoyed getting to see Scratch basics, how to use loudness as a code trigger, and how to use the web cam to interact with sprites.   Inspired by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager from InventToLearn.com, teachers had the opportunity to play with Scratch, Makey Makey, Arduino, Servo’s, Lego Wedo, and Khan Academy.   The workshop turned into a big party once we broke out Scratch and the Makey Makey’s .   We had lots of laughs and silly cat sounds!
  • The teachers appreciated having the space to play with the technology. I tried to design the workshop so that most of the learning occurred through hands on experiences.  Some teachers wished they had more time during their normal teaching week to do this kind of tinkering.
  • To our mentors/coaches for the weekend, please know that you have my thanks! I couldn’t have done it without you!  I just want to give shout outs to my friends Monica Kearse who teaches CS at Veterans High School, Garrett Armstrong from SparkMacon MakerSpace, Joey Allen from Mercer University and Mercer Creative Computer Camps, and my brother Francis.  The teachers appreciated all of your mindfulness and support.
  • I appreciate that Joey Allen shared some games that his students created during the Mercer Creative Camps. I think all of us were impressed by the complexity and fun factor of the games.    Allen also showcased the power of open source software.   We took some time to review the code for one of the games.   He did a great job helping the teachers draw insights from the code the students had created and breaking it down.
  • I found it interesting to hear the connections teachers created from this coding experience to common core standards: problem solving, critical thinking, coordinate systems, motion, cause and effect, simple machines, creative storytelling, and learning how to write to document solutions.   Here’s a related post from Edutopia.

Here’s some of the tools and resource links shared during the workshop.

Tools

Resources

Community and personal learning network opportunities

Georgia Makerspaces

I’m excited to learn how these powerful ideas will inspire and motivate students.  Feel free to share stories below in comments.

Make sure to join us at Make-End, Middle Georgia’s first Maker festival!  In addition to the augmented reality sandbox, we plan to provide opportunities to experience Scratch, Arduino and Makey, Makey at the SparkMacon booth.

If you’re interested in holding a coding for teachers workshop, feel free to drop me a line at Michael@InspiredToEducate.NET .   We would be excited to connect with you and serve your teaching community.

Scratch - Teaching kids to code

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