Let’s code together at home

Author: Selçuk Yusuf Arslan

Online Coding Training? Why not?

The pandemic process has been a process when education systems are rapidly taking action all over the world. Countries quickly began distance education activities. We were encouraged to organise activities for the 2020 STEM Discovery Campaign online, using SOMR (Scientix Online Meeting Room). In this process, I decided to do an online event with the Ministry of Education of Muğla Province. I was asked if I could do STEM applications by teaching coding online. Even it sounds good, it was interesting to do a “hands-on” activity online. Why not? We could do it.

Can simulators be used for this?

I started planning it right away. I could use simulators in distance education to make robotic coding with teachers. I chose micro:bit. There was a few advantages of BBC’s intiative and popular microcomputer micro:bits;

  • I could use the simulator thanks to Microsoft Makecode. Teachers participating in distance education could also get a chance to try, even if they didn’t have micro:bit.
  • Micro:bit is a good choice, especially for teachers who do not have previous coding experience because they are block-based.
  • By posting a video on YouTube, many teachers could watch me and get a chance to try, even ask questions online. I could also reach a lot of teachers offline; not only online but also offline after the broadcast.
  • At the end of the training, I could encourage teachers by making a simple STEM application.

Let’s get started…

Ministry of Education of Muğla Province prepared a poster for this online workshop and shared it with teachers in Muğla province. I made the necessary preparations for the live stream on Youtube. It was very exciting to reach out my colleagues 700 km away. The broadcast began on 17 April 2020 and about 400 teachers participated the online broadcast. I give info in the following order:

  • Basic information about BBC micro:bit,
  • First steps to coding, variable identification, use of buttons and sensors,
  • Use of light and temperature sensors,
  • STEM application on electrical transmission,
  • Q&A session,
  • Recommendations for coding for teachers.

In the meantime, once the connection failed, I had to reconnect but all participants kept participating so it was a positive point.  While I was doing the applications, participants made them as well, parallelly.  At the end of the workshop, I completed the session with a STEM application showing how the electric current would pass from the human body.

It worked!

Participants asked very nice questions about the online workshop and gave feedback. At the end of the training, they got the chance to contact me through social media for a while and ask about the issues they were trying to handle. This online workshop was watched by 1,400 teachers. It was really perfectly spread online.

This process has shown us that distance education is extremely important as an alternative. Around the world, teachers reacted quickly and wrote their success stories. Especially, I applaud the teachers who contributed to the 2020 STEM Discovery Campaign and all the teachers who helped to spread science through distance education.

Would like to watch this training? Visit my Youtube channel!

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selcukarslan

Selcuk Yusuf ARSLAN is an ICT Teacher in Ankara, Turkey. In 2018, he was awarded the Global Teacher Award by AKS Education. In the same year, he was selected as the Most Outstanding Young Person of Turkey by JCI in the category of Humanitarian and Voluntary Leadership. He has been elected as Extraordinary Teacher of the Year three times in Turkey. Arslan who was selected as Working Wonder Teacher by Microsoft Turkey in 2017, successfully represented his country in numerous international organizations with his students. As an ICT teacher, he collaborates with voluntary organisations and carries out social responsibility projects.

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