Saturday, 11 April 2015

Coding Explained by a Student using Scratch

Listen to a student explain coding in his own words with the most amazing enthusiasm!



Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Scratch: Limited Only By YOU!

Have you ever wondered what you can do with Scratch? Listen to a student explain the power of Scratch as a creation tool:


This video was created using the Google Apps for Education extension Screencastify. This extension allowed us to record all the screen activity in the Chrome web browser and record our voice overtop of the video. When we are finished explaining our thinking we could upload directly to YouTube or Google Drive. We discussed the digital citizenship around publishing our work online, including safety and developing a positive digital footprint.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Inspiring Girls to Try Computer Science

Code.org shares 4 Ways to Recruit Girls to Try Computer Science

The first strategy is recruiting girls with their friends and making coding social. Pair programming is a great option for making coding in the classroom social. It encourages students to work together to problem solve, question, design, and create. 

Next, they recommend inspiring girls with examples of women thriving in computer science. I am inspired by Heather Payne, the founder of HackerYou and Ladies Learning Code. On her blog she shares her passion for showing people they can do anything they set their mind to, including learning to code. 

The third idea is to fight stereotypes with role models. There are many amazing women involved in computer science that we can learn from and be inspired by such as Jennifer Flanagan, the co-founder and CEO of Actua, a Canadian charitable organization that engages young learners in inspiring and innovative STEM experiences. Their initiative Codemakers, has partnered with Google Canada with the aim to engage kids in becoming producers of technology through dynamic computer science programming. 

The fourth method for encouraging girls to try compter science is to show how it can help them in every field - from medicine to law to business. We need to talk to girls about possible careers in computer science and BEYOND. Coding is a valuable skills that can open up opportunities for learning, creating and making a difference in the world. 

Code.org has provided four great ideas for recruiting girls to try computer scicence. I keep these strategies in mind as I am co-planning activities with teachers to integrate coding into the classroom. A role model makes a great hook at the beginning of the lesson and I have seen the positive results of making coding collaborative through peer programming. When designing activities that integrate coding into the classroom, I listen for something that sparks student interest beyond the initial excitement of the Hour of Code. Listening to student voice can ignite a passion for coding for all of our students, including girls by getting at the heart of engagement and inspiring learners through their interests!
WeTech or Women Enhancing Technology, inspires young girls to try science, technology, mathematics and coding through their Qcamp for girls in STEM. This Qcamp video shows the power of their decoration design challenge which combines student interests with purpose and cognitive challenge. When we build relationships, ask questions and listen, we can find ways to inspire learners to code through their interests and what they care about. 

*For additional information about participation by women in computer science, check out the Girls in IT: The Facts Infographic by the National Centre for Women & Information Technology.