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.
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STEM Camp

“Get Sociable and Enjoy STEM”

April 23 the National Sovereignty and Children’s Day was dedicated to all children of the world, by Mustafa Kemal ATATÜRK, the founder of our country. Being conducted as a part of STEM Discovery Camp, the STEM Camp Project, therefore, was performed on this special day. 20 secondary school students, 12 are female and 8 are male, from 5 different schools of two cities of Turkey attended the camp. There were more vacancies for female students than male ones to avoid gender gap. The students were elected through some objective criterions applied in a Google Form (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mFA-i5VSc8b-hDRi1dsD-eUL082iclWP24gXpi4qi-0/edit). The camp was held during two days (April 23-24). The students were provided accommodation at Golden Village Open Air Museum for one night. We consider this Project was an excellent experience for them.

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Make a wish

We are a school offering IT education for female students. Our students met outstanding executives of the IT sector between 23/04/2018 and 27/04/2018. To this end we set out some headlines (artificial intelligence, cloud tech, female entrepreneurship, STEM, Gamification etc.) We are planned to get together with executives of the field via 5 different seminars according to our students’ wishes through a vote. Therefore, we called our project “Make a Wish”. During the STEM Discovery Week, we aim to raise our female students’ awareness  and parents on technology and STEM with the help of executives we host in our school.

STEM Discovery Week Activities:

1. I asked my students which seminars or workshops they wanted a week ago. A voting process was carried out.

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2. As a result of the voting process, Internet security, STEM contests, cyber security and Minecraft workshops were the most requested activities.

3. In our work, we gave importance to school-sector cooperation.

4. Microsoft trainer, Ömer SARPDAĞ, organised a Minecraft workshop with 22 students. The workshop, which lasted about 3 hours, was very efficient for my students.

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5. Berk İMRAN, a cyber security expert from Kirikkale University, taught cyber security to my students. 220 students participated in the training in the conference hall of our school.

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6. Internet security training for our students and parents was provided. The seminar was carried out by the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) trainer Aydın ÇATAK. 110 parents of students participated in the seminar. After the seminar, a question and answer section was made. 300 hand brochures were distributed to the parents.

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7. The last request of my students was a STEM competition. We had a Marshmallow challenge contest at our school. The students who made the longest and most robust tower with the given materials became the winners of the competition. Our students were rewarded through sponsors. 50 students attended the competition.

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Results:

  1. 402 students and parents attended the STEM Discovery Week events.
  2. After the Minecraft Workshop, my students developed educational materials for pupils.
  3. Thanks to safe Internet education given to our parents, our students will be safer on the Internet.
  4. My colleagues at school were aware of STEM Discovery Week and Scientix. I think it’s a nice dissemination work.

Selçuk Yusuf ARSLAN

Scientix Ambassador, TR