Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Day 2 - Infosys Pathfinders Institute - Coding as a Playground

Day 2

Background Information 
Scratch JR and Kibo were created around the same time through an National Science Foundation grant. Today we are going to dig into Scratch JR.

When thinking about Scratch JR there are a few things to note:

  • ScratchJR was designed to be simple and visual appealing with minimal text
  • Scratch JR has been downloaded over 11.5 million times since July 2015
  • Over 20 million projects have been created
  • Think of yourself as a director of a play and you get to decide where there characters go and what happens
  • You are creating a story with a beginning, middle, and end within up to four pages
  • This image to the right is an example of how a character will jump in Scratch and Scratch JR
  • There is a Scratch JR PBS Kids app containing story starters and popular PBS kids characters 
Crazy Character Algorithms
We started with an unplugged lesson that reminds me of Crazy Characters Algorithms  from Barefoot EDU . I had to give my partner directions to draw a snail. I got to see an image of a snail, she did not. I had to give her directions to make a snail with the goal to make it look the same. She did great! Having done an activity similar to this before, I knew that I had to be specific  in my directions. 

Scratch JR Cards
As adults, we used these Scratch JR Coding Cards to learn about features of Scratch JR through activity cards. These cards were created for adults to use as they explore the app. This activity reminded me of the Simon Says lesson I created for students to explore Scratch JR.

Scratch JR Pass on Activity
We had 10 minutes to create a program in Scratch JR. Then, we were told to find someone in the room and let them do anything they wanted to do to it to add onto the story for about 10 minutes. Following that, we gave our iPads back to each other and got to explore our projects and the updates were made. 

Interview with Amanda Sullivan
We were able to have a half hour Skype interview Amanda Sullivan. Learn more about Amanda Sullivan.
Topics covered include:
  • Associate Director of the Graduate Certificate Early Childhood Technology
  • Gender and engaging girls in stem beginning in early childhood
    • Less than 15% of engineers are women
    • Less than 25% of computer and math scientists are women 
    • What are the ethical implications of technology when they are created by a population of people that is dominated by one gender?
      • cell phone size
      • apps that don't take into consideration female qualities
    • Early experiences matter
      • Start young and continue strong
      • Inform yourself and others about the impact of stereotypes
      • Foster a growth mindset
        • Think about the way you give compliments
          • Talk about the hard work and approaches vs "you are so smart"
      • Provide diverse stem role models
        • Picture books with role models
        • Sharing female engineers
        • Bringing people into your classroom 
      • Foster awareness and compassion in boys
        • Something as simple as moms building IKEA furniture can have an impact
      • Take a look at your own behavior 
        • Do you call on boys/girls more in particular subjects?
        • Do you model a joy for troubleshooting?
        • Celebrate and engineering mindset
  • Amanda is working on a book
    • Breaking the STEM Stereotype coming out 2018
    • You can join her mailing list to stay up to date by completing this form   bit.ly/sullivanbooklist 
  • American Association of University Women - learn more about stereotypes and stereotype threat
  • When talking about group work, pair programming, individual work in the classroom, a quote she referenced from Dr. Marina Bers resonated with me:

"You don't learn to write by sharing a pencil"

  •  Stereotypes
    • Amanda found that stereotypes are being developed everywhere
      • Home, school, media
    • The biggest influences are parents, peers, siblings
      • "Boys are better at building because his dad builds with him and his mom gets flustered when she does."
      • In one classroom she worked with, the mainstream teacher was female and her class went to a technology class with a male teacher.  This gave the impression to the kids that men were better at technology then women.
Group Dynamics
  • Research in high school shows
    • Kids will identify a peer leader and agree with what they say
  • Research on same gender groups
    • If you introduce one person of a different gender to the group, it will change the dynamics greatly 
    • If the groups are same gender, they tend to play with stereotypical topics
Scratch JR

We took about a half an hour to share our projects that we had time to work on today. Each person or group went to the front of the room to share their project using the document camera with the camera.

Days 3-5 of the Computer Science Crash Course

During this week, I took notes on paper, in a notebook. Normally, I take notes online via Google Docs or here in Blogger. After taking notes on paper,  I didn't take the time that I *thought* I would to bring them to Blogger. We had a full schedule, full of fun activities, exactly what I was hoping for that helped me make the connections between my thoughts, a program with blocks, to a program written in python!

Here are a few highlights:

The inspirational women in the picture above!
Emily Thormforde - http://oneforeachhand.com  My gracious host, who I hope to visit again!
Sheena Vaidyanathan - http://www.computersforcreativity.com My insightful teacher, who I hope to learn with again!

Driving to the workshop everyday, thank you EM! One day we found our conversation led to computational thinking related to driving to work in the morning. If everyone would have the same end goal of arriving to work safely versus getting to work in the shortest amount of time possible, think of all the accidents that could be avoided.

Computational Thinking. Thinking like a computer scientist. How do I formulate the problem so it can be solved by a computer?
Example of this thinking
Non-Computational Thinker - Solves problems for one particular instance. Arithmetic. 
Computational Thinker -  Why am I solving for on particular instance, I should create something that could solve all problems of this type. Algebra.

Creating games with Microbit

I saw by a high school math teacher. We did a lot of pair programming. It was interesting to compare the way we approached problems and design. We created a game that you can play by clicking here!

Creating our initials using logo and python

This was my first experience where I sat down and really tried to understand what I was doing while creating in python.  I'm very proud of the program I created, so here it is!

This was also the first time I created a program in Make Code using a motor to make a fan spin

Monday, July 16, 2018

Day 1- Infosys Pathfinders Summit - Coding as a Playground: ScratchJr + KIBO Robotics

Infosys Pathfinders Institute Day 1

Starting the morning off with images of playpens and playgrounds to frame our discussion around what types of physical spaces kids learn and play in which lead into a discussion on technologic learning environments. This is helpful for teachers as we think of the types of technologies we have available for us in classrooms for our students to use. Are they active creators or consumers. When your students are engaging with technology do see the following

  • Are children seen as creators rather then consumers?
  • Are children engaging in multiple domains including mental, physical, and social play? 
  • Are children directors of their play while adults are seen as supervisors?  

We spent a bit of time talking about Seymour Papert's Powerful Ideas then watching the following video. Which featured schools with computers, robots, and legos. The kids were learning about motion, engineering design, that knowledge is a unified thing. 

Another book that we are using, a lot, this week is Coding as a Playground by Dr. Marina Bers

Kibo Dances
We saw a variety of dances performed by Kibo and then had hands on time to program Kibo.

Do you see the bug in this program? 

How will Kibo ever speak if Kibo is stuck in a forever spin!? Do your students get stuck  using the repeat blocks and not having them in the correct order? Use the line to help you place blocks in the proper sequence! 

We spent a few hours creating a program for Kibo to dance to a song.
My partner and I choose Shake if Off by Taylor Swift and here is our program.

I ended my day leading two optional sessions on the Robot Turtles board game in classrooms. ThinkFun generously donated 30 board games to attendees of the session.

Here is my resource from this session bit.ly/RobotTurtlesInfy
You can purchase your own Robot Turtles game here!

Resources to Dig Deeper:

Infosys Pathfinders Institute 2018

This week I will be learning with 30 educators about Coding as a Playground with Scratch JR and Kibo. We are part of a larger group of almost 600 educators attending the Infosys Pathfinders Institute held at Indiana University Bloomington.

Thank you to the following for making this opportunity a reality!

Infosys's mission: Inspiring children, young adults, and educators to become creators of technology.
For the Pathfinders Institute, nearly 600 educators came together to learn how to make Computer Science (CS) accessible to all. This is done through a variety of week long courses. The course I am attending is below.

Learn more here. 

DonorsChoose and Infosys partnered up to make this trip accessible to all who wanted to attend. My total trip was about $2,000.00. I only needed to pay a small portion of this because Infosys generously donated matched to every donation on DonorsChoose and then at the end fully funded the trip!
Learn more here.

Day 2 of Learning- Computer Science Crash Course

Day two followed a similar structure as day 1. We had a variety of unplugged activities, pseudo code and flowcharts, Scratch projects, and Python projects. Exactly what I was hoping for. Most of what I have learned around CS education has been through books, research projects, tinkering on my own. Now, I I have dedicated a week to learning, crash course style, how what I have discovered fits together.

Python is new to me, Scratch isn't. As we have been learning and tinkering with different challenges, I capture what the program looks like in Scratch and Python.

I use Google photos to place screenshots next two each other. I have about 10 slides already created and look forward to making more. 

We spent sometime with actives to help us understand binary. Yay! My introduction lesson to binary was building a binary bracelet a few years ago. Are you interested in learning how to do that? Check out Code.org's Binary Bracelets.  To start, we were given small squares with dots on them, one at a time starting with the number one, then two, then four, then eight.... Using the blank side (no dots) and the side with dots, we were given the task of making numbers that our facilitator would call out. Here is a whole list of lessons on binary from CSUnplugged. It also made me think of the Edx Course I started following, Harvard's CS 50 taught by David Malan where I learned more about binary.

We had time to make something do something.... It's exciting when you hold an object in your hands and it does something that you programed it to do. In one of the first projects

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Day 1 of Learning - Computer Science Crash Course

Sharing a few resources from day one of the Computer Science Crash Course at the Krause Center for Innovation at Foothill College in Los Altos, CA.

We started they day with a few unplugged activities, discussions, and videos around

  • Code
  • Computer Science
  • Computational Thinking
After polling all participants it was clear to our facilitators the group has a wide range of experience with these topics and we needed to build an understanding before digging in.

In this video, we saw an over view of how computers work.

In this video, we learned about how algorithms are used to create matches on Ok Cupid

Unplugged Activities

We all participated in a few unplugged activities.

Algorithms. Our goal was to get Ann to the door. The purpose was to help us think step by step about what the directions were. In addition, to if we could create directions that could be used to get her to the door even if she didn't start in the same spot each time. This activity reminded me of Move it Move it from Code.org.

Sorting. As a class we were split into two groups. We competed against each other to see which group could sort in a line the fastest once in alphabetical order by first name and then by birthdate (not including the year).

Variables. In this activity, we had a partner, 3 envelopes, 3 cards, 1 dice. The goal was to learn about variables and values. It reminded me of Variables in Envelopes by Code.org

Thursday, May 24, 2018

DonorsChoose for Professional Learning

I am new to DonorsChoose.

This summer there are a few professional learning opportunities that I am REALLY looking forward to attending. I have been accepted to all of them!! Woohoo!!! Now, I have to work on how I will get to all of them. Unfortunately, I am interested in events that are happening outside of my state.

June – Computer Science Crash Course for Educators (4 1/2 day workshop)

Enjoy becoming a student again and fall in love with computer science! The Computer Science Crash Course will help you gain CS content knowledge and strengthen your coding skills in either Python or Scratch—you choose. Led by current computer science teachers who will demonstrate best teaching practices based on many years of experience, this differentiated course uses a variety of leveled activities and coding challenge sets to encourage middle and early high school teachers (grades 5-9) in all subject areas to advance their own learning. With K-12 CS standards-aligned lessons on algorithms, data, the Internet, and the impact of computing, you will discover that computer science is more than coding. You will also gain exposure to the many available tools and open curriculum resources that you can apply to your particular classroom needs.
Cost: airplane ticket, food, lodging, transportation, workshop fee
Here is my DonorsChoose page for this event: https://donorschoo.se/e/ZWTKMViCbN

July – Coding as a Playground: Scratchjr and KIBO Robotics

Pathfinders Summer Institute 2018 is an intensive week of in-person professional development in Computer Science and Making. The Institute will be hosted by Infosys Foundation USA at Indiana University Bloomington from July 15-20, 2018.

Coding as a Playground: Scratchjr and KIBO Robotics professional development targets teachers working with young children PreK-2 who are interested in integrating computer science (CS), computational thinking (CT) and robotics into their early childhood classrooms with a playful developmentally appropriate approach. 
Cost: airplane ticket, food, lodging, transportation, workshop fee

The Infosys Foundation USA is supporting educators by matching half of the cost for the week long learning summit.

"Donations to this project are now being matched, thanks to support from Infosys Foundation USA. At Infosys Foundation USA our mission is to help bridge the digital divide in America and to bring to everyone the skills needed to become creators, not just consumers, of technology. We are proud to support teachers everywhere who are working to bring greater access and inclusion in computer science education."

If attendees do not have funding from their district, they are recommending to go to DonorsChoose and create a professional learning project.
Here is my DonorsChoose page for this event: https://donorschoo.se/e/BDZnvqfCbN

August – Picademy – Seattle

Picademy is a two-day digital making workshop full of new learning opportunities, team collaboration, and community building. To give you the full picture, let’s take a look at previous Picademy events and hear directly from educators who graduated from the program last summer.
Cost: airplane ticket, food, transportation . I am lucky enough to stay with a friend and this is has a no cost registration for the two day event!
Depending on how my first to projects go on DonorsChoose, I may create another project for this trip!

My problem is, I am not finding people/companies to make a donation in the first place. I’m not going to ask family and friends to make a donation to my learning. Instead, I would love to find people who are seeking out the opportunity to make a donation. 
Solution, I am taking this to social media for help! For people who have used DonorsChoose, where are you finding your donors?

Side note- When you write about DonorsChoose, do you type it as one word like I do or do you separate them?